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Full text of "Mind and its place in nature"

of JlnrtJia 
ICtbrart^s 




ahr (Sift nf 

rirs- Charles Morris 



International Library of Psychology- 
Philosophy and Scientific Method 



The Mind 
and its Place in Nature 



International Library of Psychology 
Philosophy and Scientific Method 



GENERAL EDITOR 



Philosophical Studies 
The Misuse of Mind . 
Conflict and Dream 
Psychology and Politics . 
Medicine, Magic and Religion 
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus 
The INIeasurement of Emotion 
Psychological Types . 
Scientific Method 

Scientific Thought by C. T). Broad, LittD. 

The Meaning of Meaning. by C. K. Ogden and I. A. Richards 
Character and the Unconscious . ■ by ]. H. van der Hoop 
Individual Psychology . . . . .by Alfred Adler 



C. K. OGDEN, M.A. 
(Magdalene College, Cambridge) 

. by G. E. Moore, LittD. 

by Karin Stephen 

by W. H. R. Rivers, F.R.S. 

by W. H. R. Rivers, F.R.S. 

by W. H. R. Rivers, F.R.S. 

by L. Wittgenstein 

by W. Whately Smith 

by C. G. Jung, M.D., LL.D. 

by A. D. Ritchie 



Chance, Love and Logic . . . . 

Speculations (Preface by Jacob Epstein) 

The Psychology' of Reasoning 

The Philosophy of Music 

The Philosophy of ' As If ' 

The Nature of Laughter 

The Nature of Intelligence . 

Telepathy and Clairvoyance . 

The Growth of the Mind 

The Mentality of Apes . . . . 

Psychology of Religious Mysticism 

The Psychology of a Musical Prodigy 

Principles of Literary Criticism . 

Metaphysical Foundations of Science 

Colour-Blindness 

Physique and Character . 
Psychology of Emotion 
Problems of Personality : 

Psyche 

Psychology' of Time . 



by C. S. Peirce 

by T. E. Hulme 

by Eugenic Rignano 

. by W. Pole, F.R.S. 

by H. Vaihinger 

by ]. C. Gregory' 

. by L. L. Thurstone 

by R. Tischner 

by K. Koffka 

. by W. Kohler 

. by ]. H. Leuba 

by G. Revesz 

by I. A. Richards 

by E. A. Burtt, Ph.D. 

by M. Collins, Ph.D. 

by Ernst Kretschmer 

by J. T. MacCurdy, M.D. 

in Jionour of Morton Prince 

by E. Rohde 

by M. Sturt 



. by F. Paulhan 

by S. DE Sanctis 

by H. Pii^RON 

.by F. A. Lange 

by S. Thalbitzer 



IN PREPARATION 

The Laws of Feeling .... 

Conversion 

Thought and the Brain .... 
The History of Materialism . 
Emotion and Ins.^nity .... 

Personality by R. G. Gordon, M. D. 

Repression in Savage Societies . . by B. Malinowski, D. Sc. 
The Analysis of Matter . . by Bertrand Russell, F.R.S. 
Psychology and Ethnology . . by W. H. R. Rivers, F.R.S. 

Educational Psychology by Charles Fox 

Statistical Method in Economics . by P. Sargant Florence 

The Primitive Mind by P. Radin, Ph.D. 

Colour-Harmony . . by James Wood 

The Theory of Hearing . . . . by H. Hartridge, D.Sc. 
Supernormal Physical Phenomena . . by E. J. Dingwall 

Theoretical Biology by ]. von UexkOll 

Integrative Action of the Mind . . . by F.. Miller, M.D. 
Plato's Theory of Knowledge . . . by F. M. Cornford 
Principles of Psychopathology . by Wm. Brown, M.D., D.Sc. 
Theory of Medical Diagnosis . by F. G. Crookshank, M.D. 

Language as Symbol and as Expression . . by E. Sapir 



A History of Ethical Theory. 
The Philosophy of Law . . . . 
Psychology of Musical Genius 
Modern Theories of Perception 
Scope and Value of Economic Theory . 
Mathematics for Philosophers 
The Philosophy of the Unconscious 
The Psychology of Myths . . by 
The Psychology of Music 
Psychology of Primitive Peoples . 
Development of Chinese Thought 



by M. Ginsberg, D.Lit. 

. by A. L. Goodhart 

by G. Revesz 

. by W. J. H. Sprott 

bv Barbara Wootton 

by'c H. Hardy, F.R.S. 

by E. von Hartmann 

G Elliot Smith, F.R.S. 

by Edward J. Dent 

by B. Malinowski, D.Sc. 

by Liang Che-Chiao 



The Mind 
and its Place in Nature 



By 
C. D. BROAD, M.A., Litt.D. 

Fellow and Lecturer in the Moral Sciences, Trinity College, Cambyidge 
Author of Peyception, Physics, and Reality, and Scientific Thought 






NEW YORK 
HARCOURT, BRACE & COMPANY, INC. 

LONDON: KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH. TRUBNER & CO., LTD. 

1925 



ISO 



Tamer Lectures delivered in Trinity College 
Cambridge, 1923 



TRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY 
THE EDINBURGH PRESS, Q AND II YOUNG STREET, EDINBURGH 



To 
J. A. CHADWICK 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

Lyrasis IVIembers and Sloan Foundation 



http://www.archive.org/details/minditsplaceinnaOObroa 



PREFACE 

My duties as Tarner Lecturer and as Lecturer in the 
Moral Sciences at Trinity College, Cambridge, began 
together and overlapped during the Michaelmas term 
of 1923. It was therefore impossible for me to devote 
as much time to the preparation of the Tarner Lectures 
as I could have wished ; and I was profoundly dis- 
satisfied with them. So I determined to spend the 
whole of the Long Vacation of 1924, and all my spare 
time in the Michaelmas term of that year, in rewriting 
what I had written, and in adding to it. However 
bad the book may seem to the reader, I can assure 
him that the lectures were far worse ; and however 
long the lectures may have seemed to the audience, 
I can assure them that the book is far longer. 

I had no intention of inflicting another book on 
the public so soon after my Scientific Thought; and 
I should certainly not have done so had I not been 
asked to give the Tarner Lectures. I think I can 
promise that it will be long before I offend again. 
In the meanwhile I retire to my well-earned bath- 
chair, from which I shall watch with a fatherly eye 
the philosophic gambols of my younger friends as 
they dance to the highly syncopated pipings of Herr 
Wittgenstein's flute. 

I am, as always, deeply indebted to the works of 
Mr Johnson, Dr M'Taggart, Dr Moore, Mr Bertrand 
Russell, and Prof. Stout. I have to thank my friend, 
Mr J. A. Chadwick of Trinity, for kindly reading the 
proofs. I have also learned much from him in the 
many conversations which we have had together, and 
I am indebted to him especially for certain suggestions 



viii PREFACE 

which I have tried to work out in Chapter XIII. Part 
of Chapter II. and part of Chapter VIII. are based on 
papers which have been published in the Proceedings 
of the Aristotelian Society. Part of Chapter III. is 
based on an article which appeared in The Monist ; 
and part of Chapter XII. is based on an article which 
appeared in The Hibbert Journal. I have to thank the 
editors of these publications for kind permission to 
make use of the articles in question. 

I shall no doubt be blamed by certain scientists, and, 
I am afraid, by some philosophers, for having taken 
serious account of the alleged facts which are investi- 
gated by Psychical Researchers. I am wholly impeni- 
tent about this. The scientists in question seem to me 
to confuse the Author of Nature with the Editor of 
Nature ; or at any rate to suppose that there can be no 
productions of the former which would not be accepted 
for publication by the latter. And I see no reason to 
believe this. 

I am only too well aware how inadequate the book 
is to its rather ambitious title. Many subjects which 
ought to have been discussed are not touched upon ; 
and those subjects which are discussed are not exhausted, 
even if the reader be so. But it is the best that I can 
do at present ; and I hope that some parts of it, at any 
rate, may form starting-points for fruitful controversies 
among philosophers, psychologists, biologists and 
psychical researchers. 

C. D. BROAD. 

Trinity College, Cambridge, 
January 1925. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Chapter I. Introduction — General Remarks on 

Method — Pluralism and Monism i 



SECTION A 

Alternative Theories of Life and Mind at the 
Level of Enlightened Common-sense 

Chapter II. Mechanism and its Alternatives . . 43 

Chapter III. The Traditional Problem of Body 

AND Mind ...... 95 

SECTION B 

The Mind's Knowledge of Existents 
Chapter IV. Sense-Perception and Matter . .140 
Chapter V. Memory . . . . . . .221 

Chapter VI. Introspection ...... 275 

Chapter VII. The Mind's Knowledge of Other 

Minds . . . . . . -317 

SECTION C 

The Unconscious 

Chapter VIII. Various Meanings of the Term " Un- 
conscious" 354 

Chapter IX. The Alleged Evidence for Unconscious 

Mental Events and Processes . 401 

Chapter X. The Nature of Traces and Dispositions 430 



X CONTENTS 

SECTION D 

The Alleged Evidence for Human Survival 
of Bodily Death 

V.___I,^ Chapter XI. Ethical Arguments for Human Sur- 
vival 487 

Chapter XII. Empirical Arguments for Human Sur- 
vival . . . . . . .514 

SECTION E 

The Unity of the Mind and the Unity of Nature 
Chapter XIIL The Unity of the Mind . , -556 

Chapter XIV. The Status and Prospects of Mind 

in Nature ...... 607 

Index . . . ... . . . . . 667 



CHAPTER I 

"She's a rum 'un is Natur'," said Mr Squeers. . 
Natur' is more easier conceived than described." 

(Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby) 



CHAPTER I 

Introduction. General Remarks on Method. 
Pluralism and Monism 

Introduction. The aim of the Tarner Benefaction is 
to found a course of lectures on "the relation or lack 
of relation between the various sciences." Dr White- 
head, who gave the first course, dealt with applied 
geometry and chronometry, dynamics, and the Theory 
of Relativity. He left to his immediate successor a 
delicate and invidious task. Dr Whitehead's Concept of 
Nature is an epoch-making book by a man who is a 
complete master of the technical part of his subject and 
an original philosophic thinker of the highest order. 
Taken in conjunction with its predecessor, The Principles 
of Natural Knowledge, and its sequel. The Principle of 
Relativity, it forms the most important contribution 
which has been made for many years to the philosophy 
of mathematical physics. For me to attempt to cover 
the same ground again in these lectures would be to 
expose myself to the most unflattering comparisons. 
Moreover, I have lately dealt with these matters to the 
best of my ability in my Scientific lliought ; and, whilst 
I am well aware how much room there is for improve- 
ment in that book, my readers must be as tired of seeing 
my views on this subject as I am at present of writing 
them down. I therefore determined to choose a problem 
which should be supplementary to Dr Whitehead's 
work and should overlap it as little as possible. 

Now the limitations which the first Tarner Lecturer 
deliberately imposed on himself at once suggest a 
subject for discussion by his immediate successor. He 



4 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

I quite explicitly confined himself to the study of Nature 
I as an object of Mind. He refused to complicate his 
■ problem by dealing with the stuff and structure of mind 
as such, or with its place within the physical world 
I which it contemplates and acts upon. And, beside this, 
Dr Whitehead confined himself to the most general 
\ characteristics of the physical world, to those which are 
shared by stones, trees, and animal or human bodies. 
He did not consider in detail the very great apparent, 
differences which there are between such objects as 
these. In these self-imposed limitations he was, I think, 
wholly justified. The problem of the external world as 
such is a terribly hard one, and it has certainly been 
made harder in the past by being mixed up to a 
needless extent with psychological and physiological 
questions. I found it necessary to follow much the 
same course, so far as I could, in my Scientific Thought. 
Nevertheless, it seems clear to me (and I do not suppose 
that Dr Whitehead would seriously dissent) that all 
sharp divisions of Reality into water-tight compart- 
ments, and all confinement of our attention to the 
common characteristics of things which also differ pro- 
foundly, are practically necessary rather than theoreti- 
cally satisfactory. Minds do arise, to all appearance, 
A within the physical world ; and they do remain, to all 
^^appearance, tightly bound to certain special physical 
objects, viz., living animal organisms. And, having 
arisen and being connected with such organisms, they 
do then proceed to perceive, think about, act upon, feel 
emotions toward, and approve or disapprove of things 
and events in the physical world. Nor do they confine 
their attention to such objects. A mind may perform 
all these acts towards itself and towards other minds as 
well as towards physical things and events ; and the 
minds which we know most about are concerned almost 
as much with themselves and with other minds as with 
matter. Nor does even this exhaust the objects with 
which minds are apparently concerned from time to 



INTRODUCTION 5 

time. Some minds, and especially Dr Whitehead's, 
seem to spend a good deal of their time in contem- 
plating, reasoning about, and feeling approval or dis- 
approval towards objects which are, on the face of 
them, neither material nor mental, e.g.^ numbers, 
propositions, and the formal relations of such objects 
among themselves. And it is certainly arguable that a 
mind could go little if any distance in cognising objects 
which are physical or mental if it did not have the power 
of cognising objects which are neither. 

Now these are vitally important facts which must 
presumably shed some further light on the stuff and 
structure of the world as a whole, and even on that part 
of it which consists of physical things and processes 
and is called " Nature." When we treat any one part of 
Reality in isolation from the rest, or when we con- 
centrate on the common features of things which also 
differ profoundly, it is certain that our results will not be 
the whole truth and probable that they will not be wholly 
true. The speculative philosopher and the scientific 
specialist are liable to two opposite mistakes. The 
former tends to deliver frontal attacks on Reality as a 
whole, armed only with a few wide general principles, 
and to neglect to isolate and master in detail particular 
problems. The latter tends to forget that he has 
violently abstracted one part or one aspect of Reality i 
from the rest, and to imagine that the success which ! 
this abstraction has given him within a limited field 
justifies him in taking the principles which hold therein ; 
as the whole truth about the whole world. The one 
cannot see the trees for the wood, and the other cannot 
see the wood for the trees. The result of both kinds of 
mistake is the same, viz., to produce philosophical 
theories which may be self-consistent but which must be 
described as " silly ". By a *' silly " theory I mean one \ 
which may be held at theTIme'^wherrone is talking or 
writing professionally, but which only an inmate of a 
lunatic asylum would think of carrying into daily life. 



r 



4 



6 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

I should count Behavipurism, taken quite strictly, and 
certain forms of Idealism as "silly" in this sense. No 
one in his senses can in practice regard himself or his 
friends or enemies simply as ingenious machines pro- 
duced by other machines, or can regard his arm-chair or 
his poker as being literally societies of spirits or thoughts 
in the mind of God. It must not be supposed that the 
men who maintain these theories and believe that they 
believe them are "silly" people. Only very acute and 
learned men could have thought of anything so odd or 
defended anything so preposterous against the continual 
protests of common-sense. 

General Remarks on Method. In view of these 
dangers it seems to me that the best plan for the 
philosopher is somewhat as follows. He must start by 
considering separately those departments of Reality 
which seem prima facie to be susceptible of fairly 
elaborate treatment by themselves without detailed 
knowledge of their relations to each other. He must 
then analyse and reflect upon each of these in turn as 
carefully and exhaustively as he can until he finds 
himself nearing a point at which no further progress 
can be made in understanding one without a detailed 
study, of its relations to the others. In the meanwhile 
he will always bear in mind that the departments which 
he is treating separately are in fact connected with each 
other, and that any results which he has reached about 
one of them will probably need some correction and 
modification when he takes into account those relations 
with the rest which he has hitherto been ignoring. 
Again, within each department he will begin by con- 
sidering those most abstract and pervasive features 
which are common to all things that fall within it and 
so exhibit its general structure and ground-plan. When 
he has done this he will pass on to consider the most 
striking and apparently fundamental differences between 
different objects which fall into the same department. 



INTRODUCTION 7 

Here again he will do well to remember that the study 
of the detailed differences may force him to modify his 
original conclusions about the common structure of the 
department in question. Thus the general procedure is / 
(i) gradually to work forward from the parts to the^ 
whole and from the common features of each part to the 
characteristic differences within it ; and (2) at every 
stage to look back on one's earlier results and see how 
far and in what direction they need to be modified in the\ 
light of the later ones. ' 

Now it might be objected at this stage that the 
suggested method prejudges the question of Pluralism 
or Monism. I do not think that it does. The plain 
fact is that if the world be too much or too little of a 
unity there is not the least chance of our ever being able 
to understand it. If it were as pluralistic as Leibniz 
thought or as monistic as Mr Bradley seems to have 
believed, I do not see how knowledge would be possible. 
What we find is that Reality as a whole does seem to 
show a mixture of unity and relative isolation ; and it 
is reasonable to begin with the departments which seem 
relatively independent and work at them in detail before 
considering the connexions which they undoubtedly 
also have with each other. So long as we know what 
we are doing, and clearly recognise that what seems at 
first sight closely connected may prove to be separable 
and that what seems at first sight independent may 
prove to be intimately connected, we shall not go far 
wrong. 

I have said that at each stage of our work we must 
look back to see whether the results of the earlier stages 
need correction or modification. I want now to explain 
this possibility a little further. In the first place, the 
results of our earlier and more abstract investigations 
may be seen to be positively wrong in some respects 
when we take into account the more special and concrete 
aspects of Reality which we had formerly been ignoring. 
But there is a second alternative which may arise if we 



8 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

have been lucky in our original division of Reality into 
separate departments and cautious in the statement of 
our conclusions about these departments. We may 
find, in this case, that we have not positively to correct 
anything that we have already asserted, but have only to 
choose between alternatives which we have already recog- 
nised as possible. So long as we confine ourselves to 
each department in isolation from the rest, and so long 
as we investigate only the general ground-plan of each 
department, we may well find that a number of alterna- 
tive theories are open to us and that we have no means 
of deciding between them. As we go on to consider 
the relations of one department to the others and the 
detailed differences within each department, we may 
find that this new knowledge favours certain of these 
alternatives and excludes others. In that event we 
shall not be correcting past errors, but merely replacing 
true but less determinate theories by true and more 
determinate theories. This is of course the ideal path 
of philosophic progress ; but we cannot assume that we 
shall strike it. Our chance of doing so depends partly 
on initial luck and insight in our division of the subject- 
matter, and partly on the power of recognising a number 
of alternatives and not thinking at any stage that our 
knowledge is more determinate than it really is. 

I will now illustrate my meaning with an example. 
In Dr Whitehead's Lectures and in my Scientific Thought 
we are concerned with matter only as known to the 
physicist, and with mind only as something which 
perceives and thinks about matter. The main problem 
at that level is to state clearly what is meant by 
" sensible appearance ", and to reconcile what we know 
about the sensible appearances and their qualities and 
mutual relations with what physics asserts about the 
matter which appears to us in this way. Now it seems 
to me that, so long as we confine ourselves to these 
data, many alternative theories about the nature of 
matter and of mind are possible. But, in the first place. 



INTRODUCTION 9 

we have to remember that matter seems to have differ- 
ences of kind within it beside the common features 
which are studied by the mathematical physicist. E.g.^ 
there seem to be a number of different chemical 
elements ; there seems to be a fundamental difference 
between living organisms and inorganic matter ; and 
so on. Again, within the regioji_of mind there are 
apparently very profound differences. Oysters, perhaps, 
can only feel ; cats, perhaps, can only feel and per- 
ceive ; men can feel, perceive and reason ; and so on. 
Secondly, we have to notice that there is in fact a most 
intimate relation between minds and living bodies. 
The minds that we know about are not disembodied 
spirits ; they seem to be tied to organisms, to grow and 
decay with these, and to cease when these die. More- 
ov^er, in our part of the world at any rate, there seems 
to have been a gradual historic development of mind 
going hand in hand with a growth in the complexity 
of living matter. Any theory of Reality which can 
claim to be even approximately adequate must take 
such apparent facts into account, and must contain a 
doctrine of matter and mind which shall be consistent 
with them. Now it may well be that, of the various 
theories which were possible when we considered merely 
the common properties of mind and of matter and when 
we looked on mind merely as a contemplator of matter, 
some will be ruled out when we take account of the 
different sorts of mind and of matter and the apparent 
relation of dependence between these two departments 
of Reality. And it may be that some of the remaining 
alternatives will be better adapted than others to this 
new and more concrete situation. 

I propose therefore to consider in these lectures the 
Mind and its Place in Nature. As minds are specially 
closely connected with those peculiar bodies called 
"animal organisms" I shall also have to consider the 
apparent differences between living and non-living 
matter. This line of inquiry seems to fall quite natur- 




10 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

ally into the scheme of the Tarner Benefaction ; for it 
^ amounts to considering the " relation or want of re- 
lation " between physics, physiology, and psychology. 
I shall in certain places assume that the reader is 
acquainted with my Scientific Thought ; but I shall take 
no special pains to make the outcome of this inquiry 
square with the outcome of that. If they should turn 
out to be mutually consistent, so much the better. But 
I shall follow my argument whithersoever it may lead ; 
and, if fragments of my works should survive the down- 
fall which Western civilisation is so busily preparing 
for itself, it will perhaps be the pleasing task of the 
Negro commentators of the future universities of central 
Africa to excogitate a consistent system of thought from 
my scattered remains. 

I propose to attack the problem in the following 
order. (^) I shall begin by taking quite traditional 
and commonplace views about matter and mind, and 
shall discuss at that level the old questions of Mechan- 
ism and Vitalism and of the Relation of Mind and 
Body. {E) Next I shall consider critically the sources 
of our alleged knowledge of Matter, of our own Minds, 
and of other Minds. In this section I shall also discuss 
Memory, which is involved in all our knowledge. 
This should enable us to decide how much we are 
probably justified in asserting about the nature of 
Matter and of Mind, taken in isolation from each other. 
(Q It will then be profitable to say something about 
what seem to be common features of living organisms 
and minds, or to be on the borderline between merely 
vital and obviously mental phenomena. I allude here 
to Mnemic Phenomena and the "Unconscious". At 
the end of this section we shall see that there are certain 
alternative possibilities between which we cannot decide 
unless we know whether minds ever survive the destruc- 
tion of the organisms which they have animated. There- 
fore {D) I then proceed to discuss the arguments for and 
against human survival of bodily death. Finally {E) 1 



INTRODUCTION ii 

shall consider the internal unity of the mind, and its 
position and probable prospects in Nature. 

Dangers of the Genetic Method. In dealing with living 
organisms and with minds there is a complication which 
does not arise to the same extent in considering non- 
living matter. This is the fact of evolution. Each 
mind and each organism that we know of has developed 
gradually from very simple beginnings. And, again, 
there is some reason to think that the most complex 
minds and organisms which have appeared up to a 
given date are less and less complex as that date is 
pushed further back in the earth's history, and that the 
more complex organisms of later date are the descendants 
of less complex organisms of earlier date. However 
this may be, it is certain that at the present time there 
are minds and organisms of very various degrees of 
complexity, ranging from amoebas through cats and 
dogs to men. Now, in trying to analyse and understand 
any complex state of affairs which has gradually grown 
up from simpler beginnings, there are two alternative 
orders of treatment. One is to start by considering 
the most perfect and highly developed instances of the 
phenomenon in question. Another is to treat the 
problem genetically, devoting great attention to its 
earliest, simplest, and crudest forms. The latter is of 
course the more popular order at the present time. My 
own view is that neither line of approach can be dis- 
pensed with, but that the former is the more funda- 
mental of the two. In the first place, if we want to. 
study the nature and structure of some important item 
in Reality it is surely more sensible to begin by studying 
it in its most characteristic and developed forms than 
in those elementary beginnings in which it is barely 
distinguishable from other factors in Reality. Even 
if one's main interest be in the development of some- 
thing it is at least as important to know what it has 
developed into as what it has developed out of. 
Secondly, if we start from the other end, we are 



12 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

liable to fall into two errors. (a) We are extremely 
likely to underestimate the complexity and ignore the 
peculiarities of the final stage, because we cannot see 
how they could have developed out of the earlier and 
simpler stages. It certainly seems to me that evolu- 
tionary accounts of Mind very often fail altogether to 
take due account of the most characteristic features of 
the most highly developed minds. Now it is much 
more disastrous to slur over differences which are 
really irreducible than to recognise differences and 
wrongly think them to be irreducible. If we make the 
latter error we still have in hand all the data for the 
solution of our problem, and we or others will solve it 
when we have pushed our analysis a little further. But, 
if we make the former mistake, our data are incomplete 
and the problem cannot possibly be solved until we 
have recognised this fact. My first objection then to 
starting from the lower end and working to the higher 
is that this way of approach tends to prevent one 
from viewing the latter with an unprejudiced eye, and 
to make one commit the greatest of all mistakes in 
philosophy, that of over-simplifying the facts to be 
explained. 

(d) A second danger is the following. When I study 
the evolution of anything, be it an animal or an institu- 
tion or a mental process, I am simply learning about 
the history of it and its " ancestors " in a wide sense of 
that word. I learn that A developed into B, B into C, 
and C into the thing in question. Now we are all 
extremely liable to confuse a history of the becoming of 
a thing with an analysis of the thing as it has become. 
Because C arose out of B, and B out of A, people are 
inclined to think that C is 7iothing but A in a disguised 
form. Thus, suppose we could show that action from a 
sense of duty developed out of action from fear of public 
opinion, that this developed out of action from fear of 
the ghosts of dead ancestors, and that this developed 
out of action from fear of living chiefs. All that we 



INTRODUCTION 13 

should really have done would be to give a history of 
the process of becoming which ended in action from a 
sense of duty. But we should be very liable to think 
that we had analysed the sense of duty as it now exists, 
and proved that it is just a disguised form of fear of 
punishment by tribal chiefs. This would be simply a 
gross mistake. To analyse anything you must examine 
and reflect upon it ; and the most elaborate account of 
what preceded it in the course of history is no substitute 
^for this. At the best a study of the history of a thing 
may make you look for factors in the thing which you 
might otherwise have missed. But, on the other hand, 
as I have already pointed out, it is just as likely to 
make you turn a blind eye to factors in it which were 
not present in the earlier stages. And, in any case, 
you have no right whatever to say that the end is just 
the beginning in disguise if, on inspecting the end as 
carefully and fairly as you can, you do not detect the 
characteristics of the beginning in it and do detect 
characteristics which were not present in the beginning. 
There is a certain kind of pretentious futility which is 
closely connected with this error and is highly typical 
of some of the sillier psycho-analysts. Suppose we are 
told that a taste for music is due to suppressed sexual 
desire or to Dr Ernest Jones's family pet, "infantile anal- 
erotic sensations ". What is the precise cash-value of 
such a statement? It cannot mean that this is a sufficient 
condition of a taste for music, since the psycho-analyst 
would be the first to assure us that suppressed sexual 
desire can exist in people who show no taste for music 
but an excessive fondness for pet animals. Thus other 
factors must be needed to account for the taste for music 
in one person and the mania for keeping cats in the 
other. And these other factors will plainly be the more 
characteristic cause-factors, since the suppressed sexual 
desire is supposed to be the common condition of botJi^ 
whilst the other factors determine which of the tzvo shall 
result. So the most that can be said is that the sup- 



i 



14 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

pressed sexual desire is a necessary condition of a taste 
for music. Now it is obvious that the more different 
states the psycho-analyst ascribes to suppressed sexual 
desire the more trivial his statement becomes about any 
one of them. If this desire be a necessary condition of 
fifty different tastes, accomplishments, diseases, and 
crotchets, it is of extremely little interest to say of any 
one of them that it is ''due to " suppressed sexual desire. 
It is about as useful as to say that committing a murder 
is ''due to " being born. This is true, since you could 
not commit a murder without having been born. But 
it is not very interesting or important, since it is equally 
true that being born is a necessary condition of saving 
another man's life at the risk of your own. 

Thus, one characteristic mistake of the incautious 
user of the genetic method is to give a rather trivial 
necessary condition of some highly developed state as 
if it were the sufficient condition. He then proceeds to 
ignore the other conditions, which are equally necessary 
and much more characteristic. The next move is to 
confuse a list of the historical conditions out of which a 
thing arose with an analysis of the thing itself. And 
so, from the perfectly trivial, even if true, proposition 
that suppressed sexual desire is a necessary condition of 
a taste for music, he jumps by these two steps to the 
interesting but extremely doubtful assertion that a taste 
for music is just a disguised form of sexual desire. For 
these reasons I think I am justified in the order which 
I propose to adopt, i.e., in discussing the apparent 
features of highly developed minds at an early stage, 
and not considering the borderline of Instinct and the 
Unconscious until later. And perhaps it is relevant to 
add that I fancy I can imagine what it feels like to be a 
highly developed mind much better than I can imagine 
what it feels like to be a flea or an amoeba. But, of 
course, that may just be my conceit. 

Value of the Abnormal. Before leaving this subject I 
must make one further remark about method, which 



INTRODUCTION 15 

may seem to be inconsistent with what I have just been 
saying but is not, I think, really so. I hold that it is t 
of the utmost value for the philosopher to study the 
abnormal in all subjects. £■£', it is such facts as 
dreams, hallucination, mirror-images, etc., which 
prevent (or should prevent) us from taking too simple- 
minded a view of the external world and our perception 
of it. If we start with a theory made to fit the normal 
cases alone, we shall probably never be able to square 
the abnormal cases with it. If, on the other hand, we 
take the abnormal cases into account from the very first, 
we may be able to devise a general theory which covers 
both them and the normal cases. The normal cases 
may then be seen to arise from the fulfilment of certain 
special conditions which do zn fact generally hold, but 
which do not hold of necessity and are not in fact fulfilled 
in the abnormal cases. A simple example from mathe- 
matics will make this clear. If we had started by con- 
fining our attention to circles, and had then insisted on 
regarding all other conic-sections as circles which had 
more or less " gone to the bad ", it seems unlikely that 
we should ever have had a very satisfactory theory of 
conic-sections. The alternative and much better plan 
is to start with the general equation of a conic-section, 
and to see that circles, ellipses, hyperbolas, etc., are 
special cases which arise through special values of, or 
special relations between, the co-efficients in this general 
equation. 

Now this general principle is just as important in 
considering minds as it is in considering the external 
world and our perception of it. This fact may be 
illustrated in three ways, (i) If we study sane human 
beings in their waking moments we find a very high 
degree of unity in their minds. And, if we confine 
ourselves to them, we shall be tempted to think that 
psychical events can exist only as states of selves, and 
that each human body can have only one self connected 
with it. Now these conclusions may be true ; but they 



H 



r^ 



i6 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

begin to look much less plausible when we consider 
abnormal phenomena, such as automatic writing, 
multiple personality, etc. Moreover, a study of such 
phenomena may lead us to scrutinise more carefully the 
normal human mind, and we may then find that even 
the mind of a healthy young Scotsman "on the make" 
is a good deal less unified than it seemed to be. In 
the end we may decide that the facts as a whole are best 
explained by supposing that psychical events need not 
be states of selves and that one human body need not be 
connected with only one self. The considerable degree 
of mental unity which we find as a rule, and the normal 
assignment of one self to one body, may then be re- 
garded as due to the fulfilment of certain special 
conditions which generally hold but need not and some- 
times do not. It will still be a most important fact 
that these conditions tend to be approximately fulfilled 
in the vast majority of cases, so that there will be no 
excuse for neglecting the study of normal minds. But 
the study of the abnormal will have had two excellent 
effects. It will have presented alternative hypotheses 
to us which we should otherwise not have contemplated 
as possible, and it will have made us notice certain facts 
about the normal mind which we should otherwise not 
have looked for. (2) Under normal circumstances one 
mind seems to be incapable of knowing what is going 
on in another except by listening to the speech or 
watching the gestures of the body with which this other 
mind is connected. Most theories of mind assume that 
this very roundabout method is the only possible way in 
which one mind can communicate with another. Now 
it seems to me that the existence of telepathy between 
specially sensitive subjects and between ordinary minds 
under special conditions has been firmly established by 
the work of the S.P.R., and I consider that I have met 
with undoubted instances of it in sittings which I have 
had with the medium Mrs Osborne Leonard. The 
establishment of such facts opens up many possibilities 



INTRODUCTION 17 

which would otherwise have had to be rejected, and it 
suggests that even in normal human intercourse a tele- 
pathic factor may play some part. (3) Lastly, there are 
the more debatable cases in which it looks as if a human 
mind were communicating after the death of its body. 
At present it would be very unwise to philosophise 
about the mind with such cases mainly in view. But it 
seems to me to be almost equally rash to put forward a 
theory of mind and its relation to body which totally 
ignores these phenomena and assumes that they can all 
be explained away. 

Now I do not think that there is any inconsistency 
between my present contention that philosophy must 
attend most carefully to the abnormal and my former 
assertion that it must start by considering the most 
highly developed, and therefore the most characteristic, 
minds and mental processes. In the first place, many 
of the phenomena dealt with by Psychical Research 
may be fairly regarded as supernormal, i.e., as instances 
in which a mind shows powers which no mind was 
suspected of having. And, even in the merely patho- 
logical abnormalities which the psycho-analyst and the 
student of multiple personality treat, we are concerned 
with derangements which can happen only to a mind 
of a fairly high order. We should not expect to find 
multiple personality in a guinea-pig or suppressed com- 
plexes in an amoeba ; a mind must be fairly highly 
developed before it can go wrong in an interesting and 
instructive way. 

Pluralism and Monism. I have now said all that 
I want to say about method. In doing so, however, 
I have introduced the notion of Reality falling into 
relatively isolated, though connected, "departments". 
I have also talked of apparently fundamental differ- 
ences of kind among things which belong to the same 
department. To explain these notions further it will 
be necessary to say something about the traditional 

B 



,^^' 



i8 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

antithesis of "Pluralism" and "Monism". These 
words are terribly ambiguous, and I think it will be 
both useful and relevant to clear up their ambiguities 
at this stage. In doing so I shall be throwing some 
light on the principles which I have been asserting, 
shall sketch out the possible alternatives which have to 
be considered in detail in later chapters, and shall show 
something of the conditions on which the "connexion 
or lack of connexion of the various sciences " depends. 

Existents and Abstracta. The first great division 
within Reality as a whole which strikes one is the 
distinction between the part which exists and the part 
which is real but not existent. The contents of the latter 
I call "Abstracta". The names "Pluralism" and 
"Monism" are usually confined to different views 
about the nature of the Existent ; but a prior question 
arises, for some philosophers have held that the 
difference between Abstracta and Existents is not 
ultimate, since in their view there are no Abstracta. A 
Nominalist, who holds that there are no universals but 
only words used in a certain way, would be a Monist, 
in a sense in which a Realist, who holds that there are 
real universals whether ante rem or only in re, would 
not. However, we have the words "Realist", in the 
mediaeval sense, and "Anti-Realist" (covering Nomin- 
alists and Conceptualists) to mark this distinction ; 
and we can therefore keep the words "Monist" and 
"Pluralist" for differences of opinion about the Ex- 
istent. Nevertheless, I will briefly explain what I under- 
stand by the distinction, which seems to me to be a 
real and irreducible one. 

I do not think that " Existence" can be defined, but 
I think that it can be unambiguously described, ia) 
Whatever exists can occur in a proposition only as a 
logical subject. Of course the name of an existent may 
appear in a setitence as a grammatical object and in other 
positions too. E.g., in the sentence "Smith dislikes 
Jones" the only grammatical subject is the word 



INTRODUCTION 19* 

"Smith", and the word "Jones" counts as a gram- 
matical object. Nevertheless, the men Smith and Jones / 
are both logical subjects of the proposition for which y-'""^ j 
this sentence stands. This property, however, cannot J •> 
safely be taken by itself to mark out existents. If there '-" ''0 
be such entities as propositions they are certainly Ab- 
stracta and not Existents ; yet it would seem that the 
only part which one proposition can play in another 
proposition is that of logical subject. E.g-, if the 
sentence "Edwin will marry Angelina" stands for a 
single complex entity, a proposition, then it can only 
appear in such other propositions as : It is probable 
that Edwin will marry Angelina, or : Smith believes 
that Edwin will marry Angelina. And in these second- 
ary propositions it is plain that the original proposition 
about Edwin and Angelina is present as a logical 
subject. (d) A second characteristic which belongs 
to all^Existents and: to no Abstracta is that they are ^ .^*,.^\ / 
either literally and directly in time ; cr, if time be 
unreal, have those characteristics, whatever they may 
be, which make them appear to human minds to be 
directly and literally in time. I put the matter in this 
way because, although I see no reason to doubt the 
reality of time, there are philosophers who deny it and 
yet believe that there are existents. If then I had said 
that all existents are literally and directly in time I 
should have prejudged this question. But I think that 
even those philosophers who deny the reality of time 
would accept the second part of the above alternative. 

I do not think that Abstracta can even be unambigu- 
ously described except by saying that they are real but 
non-existent. But they can be indicated enumeratively. 
This class of realities includes qualities, relations, 
numbers, and also propositions and classes if there be 
such entities. Abstracta of course do not exist, and 
neither are nor appear to' be~TiterallyaTTd~tKrectly in 
time. But some at least oTtEem are very closeljTcon- 
nected with existents, and thereby become indirectly 



! 



t 



20 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

connected with time. This happens in two different 

ways, {a) Certain qualities characterise certain things 

or events from time to time Again, certain relations 

relate now one set of existents and now another. And 

many propositions are about things and events which 

exist in time, {b) Any Abstractum may from time to 

time become the object of someone's thought. The 

proposition that Charles I was beheaded is not in time 

. ^ - directly and literally, as Charles I and the axe are ; but 

'^^'^ it is connected indirectly with time, both because it is 

about temporal things and events and because I began 

to think of it a moment ago and shall cease to think 

of it a few minutes hence. All that can happen to a 

quality is that it sometimes characterises one, some- 

/^' ^ times another, and sometimes perhaps no existent ; and 

that it is sometimes thought of by me, sometimes by 

you, and sometimes perhaps by no one. The realm of 

i Abstracta, as such, forms the inexhaustible subject- 

\ matter of the a priori sciences of Pure Logic and Pure 

Mathematics. 

On this matter, which it would be irrelevant to pursue 
further here, I am certainly a Realist to the extent of 
accepting universalia in re as absolutely irreducible 
factors in Reality. And I am inclined to be a Realist 
in the stronger sense of believing that we cannot do 
without universalia ante rem, i.e., simple and unanalys- 
able universals which will never have instances. But 
I think it possible that we may be able to devise a 
means of dispensing with such universals, though I do 
not at present see how to do the trick. 

Pluralism and Monism about the Existent. — I will first 
illustrate the ambiguities of these terms by taking 
examples, (i) Leibniz is commonly counted as a typical 
pluralist. And in one sense he certainly was. Descartes 
is commonly regarded as a typical dualist. But, in the 
sense in which Descartes is a dualist, Leibniz is a 
monist. Leibniz held that all that appears as matter is 
really mind, whilst Descartes held that mind and 




j M- 



INTRODUCTION 21 

matter are equally real and quite irreducible to each 
other. We therefore say that Leibniz was a monist 
in the sense in which Descartes was a dualist. But 
Leibniz was equally certain that there is a very large 
number of minds, each of which is an independent 
substance ; and in this Descartes agreed with him. In 
this sense they were both pluralists. Let us next con- 
sider the case of Spinoza, who is commonly regarded as 
a typical monist. In the sense in which Leibniz was 
a monist, and Descartes was a dualist, Spinoza was 
an extreme pluralist. For he not only held that thought 
and extension were both real and mutually irreducible ; he 
held that these were just two out of an infinite number 
of equally real and mutually irreducible "Attributes". 
On the other hand, Spinoza was a monist in the sense 
in which Leibniz was a pluralist. He held that minds 
are not independent substances but are simply " modes " 
of the "attribute " of thought ; and he meant roughly 
by this that there is a single psychic continuant of 
which all minds are merely occurrent states. Of course 
he held a similar view about bodies. In this sense 
Descartes was a pluralist about mind and a monist 
about matter, for he agreed with Leibniz that minds 
are continuants and with Spinoza that bodies are 
occurrents. 

These examples illustrate some, but not all, of the 
ambiguities. Let us imagine two materialists who both 
believed that there are many independent material 
particles. So far they would both be monists, in the 
sense in which Leibniz is and Spinoza is not a monist. 
And they would both be pluralists, in the sense in 
which Leibniz is and Spinoza is not a pluralist. Now 
let us suppose that one of these materialists holds that 
there is a plurality of irreducibly different kinds of 
material particle, e.g.^ Oxygen atoms. Hydrogen atoms, 
and so on. And let us suppose that the other thinks 
that there is ultimately only one kind of material 
particle, and that the differences between Oxygen, 



22 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

Hydrogen, etc., are simply differences in the structure 
and movements of different groups of these particles. 
Then the second materialist would be a monist in a 
certain sense. And, in this sense, the first materialist 
would be a pluralist. Leibniz was a pluralist in this 
sense ; for he held that there were ultimately different 
orders of mind, e.g., "bare monads", the souls of 
animals, and human minds. 

Let us now try to draw the necessary distinctions 
and to define our terms, {a) There are certain attri- ^ 
butes which anything must have if it is to be a substance 
at all. I should say that anything that is a substance 
must have some duration and must be capable of 
standing in causal relations. Or, since some people 
deny the reality of time and of causation, let us say 
that anything that is a substance must have those 
characteristics, whatever they may be, which appear 
to human minds as duration and causation. I will 
call these " Substantial Attributes ". There are other 
attributes which a thing need not have in order to be 
a substance. It need not be extended and it need not 
even appear to be so. Again, it need not have the 
power of feeling or cognising, and it need not even 
seem to have this. 

{b) Now it must be admitted that every actual 
substance must have sovie special attribute or other 
beside the substantial attributes which are essential 
to all substances. This special attribute will make it 
a substance of such and such a kind, e.g., a material 
or a mental substance. Let us call such attributes 
"Differentiating Attributes". It will be necessary to 
describe 'the nature of a differentiating attribute a little 
more fully, (i) It must not be essential to substance 
as such, even if in fact it be possessed by all substances. 
E.g., if materialism be true, extension is an attribute 
which is in fact possessed by all substances. But it 
is a differentiating attribute for all that, since it is not 
essential for a substance as such to be extended. (2) 



INTRODUCTION 23 

It is a determinable which is not itself a determinate 
under any higher determinable. This condition is 
needed for the following reason. Suppose that the 
properties of being gold, being silver, and so on, are 
ultimate and irreducible. We do not want to count 
these as differentiating attributes ; but, if we did not 
add the present condition, it is difficult to see why we 
should not have to do so. But 'these properties 
would be determinates under the higher determinable 
''matter", and so they will not have to be counted 
as differentiating attributes if we add the condition 
that such attributes must be determinables of the 
highest order. (3) If it belongs to any complex sub- 
stance as a whole it must belong also to all its parts. 
This has to be added in view of the doctrine of 
"emergent qualities", about ivhich more will be said 
in what follows. An^ emergejit quality is roughly a U 
quality which belongs to a complex as a whole and not 7 
to its parts. Some people hold that life and conscious- 
ness are emergent qualities of material aggregates of 
a certain kind and degree of complexity. If there be 
such qualities we do not want to have to count them as 
differentiating attributes. (4) It must be a simple 
attribute, i.e.j it must not be analysable into a con- 
junction or disjunction of other attributes. 

We can now define the first kind of Pluralism and 
Monism. This I will call "Pluralism and Monism 
about Differentiating Attributes". A " Differentiating- 
Attribute Monist " holds that there is in fact only one 
differentiating attribute. Materialists, like Hobbes, and 
Mentalists, like Leibniz, are monists of this kind. A 
" Differentiating- Attribute Pluralist" holds that there 
are two or more differentiating attributes. Pluralists 
of this kind can be further subdivided according to two 
different principles, (i) We may take the trivial prin- 
ciple of dividing them according to the number of 
differentiating attributes which they accept. E.g., 
Descartes was a dualist and accepted two only ; Spinoza 



24 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

accepted an infinite number ; and there seems no obvious 
reason why there should not be Trialists or Hendekal- 
ists in this sense, though I cannot call any to mind at 
the moment. (2) A much more important principle of 
division is the following. Some people who accept a 
plurality of differentiating attributes hold that one and 
the same substance can have several or all of these 
attributes. Thus Spinoza held that God has all the 
infinite number of differentiating attributes. Others 
consider the various differentiating attributes to be in- 
compatible with each other. This view was held by 
Descartes of the two differentiating attributes which he 
accepted. The first kind of differentiating-attribute 
pluralist can (though he need not) believe that there is 
only one substance, as Spinoza did. The second kind 
of differentiating-attribute pluralist nitist admit at least 
as many different substances as there are differentiating 
attributes, and he may of course admit more. Descartes 
could not consistently have accepted less than two sub- 
stances ; and in fact he accepted a great many more, 
since he thought that each individual mind is a distinct 
substance. On the other hand, a man can be a differ- 
entiating-attribute monist, like Leibniz, and yet accept 
an infinite plurality of substances. 

We have now to consider a second meaning of the 
antithesis between Pluralism and Monism. Just as 
every actual substance has some differentiating attribute 
as well as the substantial attributes, so too every actual 
substance has its differentiating attribute in some specific 
form. No material substance \sjust a bit of matter ; it 
has the Oxygen properties, or the Hydrogen properties, 
or the Silver Chloride properties, and so on. Similarly, 
no mind \sjust a thinking substance ; it has the charac- 
teristic properties of an oyster's mind, or of a dog's, or 
of a man's, or of an angel's, and so on. I will call 
these more specific features, which distinguish different 
" natural kinds" of substances having the same differ- 
entiating attribute, "Specific Properties ". And I will 



INTRODUCTION 25 

call the aggregate of substances which have a common 
differentiating attribute, taken together, a " Realm of 
Being". E.g., we can talk of the " Mental Realm " and 
the "Material Realm". The question can then be 
raised : " Are there several ultimately different kinds of 
substance within a single realm of being, or are all the 
apparently different specific properties within a realm 
of being really reducible to a single one? E.g., must 
the Oxygen-property and the Hydrogen-property simply 
be accepted as ultimate ; or can they both be derived 
from certain common properties of all matter, such as ex- 
tension, spatial arrangement, motion of particles, etc.?" 
We might call a man who accepted the first alternative 
a "Pluralist about the Specific Properties of Matter", 
and one who accepted the second alternative a " Monist 
about the Specific Properties of Matter". It would of 
course be quite consistent to be a differentiating-attribute 
pluralist and a specific-property monist about some or 
all of the realms of being. And the opposite combina- 
tion of views would also be quite consistent. E.g., 
Leibniz was a differentiating-attribute monist ; but he 
was a specific-property pluralist, since he believed in 
ultimately different kinds of mind. Descartes, on the 
other hand, was a diff"erentiating-attribute dualist. But 
he was a specific-property monist about the realm of 
matter, for he thought that the apparently different 
kinds of matter differ only in the arrangement and 
motion of the parts of a single homogeneous material 
substance. He was a specific-property pluralist about 
the realm of mind, for he certainly held that God's mind 
differs in kind from human minds. It is evident that, 
if a man believes in a plurality of kinds of substance 
within a single realm of being, he must accept at least 
as great a plurality o{ substances ; and he may of course 
accept a much greater plurality of substances than of 
kinds. 

This brings us to a third sense of "Monism" and 
" Pluralism ". On the face of it there can be a plurality 



26 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

of substances having the same specific properties. E.g., 
it is plainly true, in some sense, that there is a large 
number of human minds and a large number of hydrogen 
atoms in the universe. Now some men hold that the 
minds of Smith, Brown, Jones, and Robinson actually 
are distinct and independent substances ; others hold 
that they are not strictly substances at all, but only 
states of a single substance. Similarly, some men hold 
that atoms or electrons are not strictly substances ; but 
are merely different states of vortex-motion in a single 
substance, the ether. We might call the former class 
of people "Substantival Pluralists" and the latter class 
" Substantival Monists ". Spinoza and Mr Bradley are 
examples of substantival monists ; for both of them 
regard chairs and tables and minds, not as substances, 
but as "modifications", "differentiations", or "states" 
of a single Substance. But, whereas Spinoza is an 
extreme pluralist about differentiating attributes, Mr 
Bradley is a differentiating-attribute monist ; for he 
thinks that the Absolute consists wholly of mental stuff 
or " experience ", as he calls it. 

4 Let us now sum up the results of this attempt at 

clarification. We have distinguished and exemplified 
three different kinds of opposition under the vague 
disjunction of Pluralism and Monism. (i) Differ- 
entiating-attribute Pluralism and Monism. This kind of 
pluralism may take two forms (apart altogether from 
the question of how many differentiating attributes are 
accepted). {a) It may allow that the differentiating 
attributes are all compatible with each other ; in which 
case it is consistent with, though it does not entail. 
Substantival Monism, {b) It may deny the compati- 
bility of some or of all combinations of differentiating 
attributes, in which case it entails some degree at any 
rate of Substantival Pluralism. (ii) Specific- Property 
Pluralism and Monism. This is the question whether 
there are or are not irreducibly different kinds of sub- 
stance within the same realm of being, i.e., with the same 



INTRODUCTION 27 

differentiating attributes. Monism about differentiating 
attributes is compatible with pluralism about specific 
properties (cf. Leibniz) ; and pluralism about differ- 
entiating attributes is compatible with monism about 
specific properties in some or in all realms of being 
(cf. Descartes' view of matter). Specific -property- 
Monism is consistent with, but does not entail, Sub- 
stantival Monism. Specific-property Pluralism does 
entail some degree at any rate of Substantival Pluralism, 
(iii) Substantival Pluralism and Monism. This is the 
question whether the apparent plurality of substances 
of the same kind is really a plurality of substances or only 
of the states or occurrents of a single Substance. As 
we have seen, Substantival Monism is not entailed by 
either of the other kinds of monism, but some degree 
of Substantival Pluralism is entailed by each of the 
other forms of pluralism. And, just as it is possible to 
be a Specific-property Monist for one realm of being 
and a Specific-property Pluralist for another realm, so 
it is possible to be a Substantival Monist for one realm 
and a Substantival Pluralist for another (cf. Descartes' 
views on Matter and Mind respectively). 

Pluralism and Monism about Differentiating Attri- 
butes will be discussed in Section E of this book. 
Pluralism and Monism about Specific Properties in 
the realm of matter will be discussed in the next 
chapter. But I may not have another opportunity 
of saying anything about Substantival Monism and 
Pluralism, so I will end this chapter with some remarks 
about this antithesis. 

The controversy between Substantival Monists and 
Pluralists seems to me to be partly verbal, and to 
depend on taking the word "substance" in a wider 
or a narrower sense. Suppose we define a substance 
simply as a particular existence, which is practically 
what Dr M'Taggart does. Then twinges of toothache, 
flashes of lightning, and so on, must be counted as 
substances. For they certainly exist or appear to exist 



v^ 



28 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

literally in time, and they cannot occupy any position 
in a proposition except that of logical subject. But 
A most people would refuse to call them *' substances". 
'^ They would call such objects "events in" or "states 

of" substances. Evidently these people mean by a 
"substance" something more specific than a particular 
existent. They would say that all substances are 
particular existents, but that the converse is not true. 
It is not very easy to say exactly what more is needed. 
One feature that seems to be ass umed i s that a substance 
must last for a considerable time. In fact, whatever 
else it may be, it would seem that it is supposed to be 
at least a series of events having a certain kind of 
internal unity and continuity both causal and spatio- 
temporal, and lasting at least long enough for this 
unity to be fully manifested. I think that it is also 
assumed by most people that all events which do not 
themselves last long enough to count as substances are 
parts of some series of interconnected events which is 
a substance. 

It will be seen that, under these circumstances, the 
distinction between a substance and a mere event is 
likely to be hard to draw in practice, and that a certain 
particular existent will be asserted to be a substance by 
some and denied to be a substance by others. Moreover, 
we must notice that, when two things are very closely 
interconnected, some people would call them "two 
substances" whilst others would call the whole which 
they together form "one substance". B.g-, we gener- 
ally think of a man's body as a single substance, though, 
from another point of view, his head is one substance 
and his trunk is another. Bearing these facts in mind, 
let us compare the ordinary view of the world as con- 
sisting of a plurality of substances with the view of a 
typical Substantival Monist, such as Spinoza. The 
ordinary man would count the various chairs in his 
room as so many distinct substances ; and he would 
take the same view about his own and his neighbours' 



INTRODUCTION 29 

minds. But he probably would not count the falling 
of a chair or a passing twinge of toothache as sub- 
stances ; he would say that they are only states or 
modifications of substances. And he would say this 
partly because they are so transitory, and partly because 
he thinks that they could not have existed by themselves ; 
e.g.^ that a fall can exist only as part of the history of 
some body, and that a feeling of toothache can exist 
only as part of the history of some mind. The plain 
man thus takes long duration, and the possibility of 
independent existence, as marks of a substance ; and 
he takes transitoriness and incapacity for independent 
exisfen^ce as marks of ia mere state or modification of a 
substance. 

Now it is very easy for a Substantival Monist to 
attack this position. How long must a particular last 
in order to count as a substance? The plain man says 
that a flash of lightning or a twinge of toothache is 
too transitory to be a substance, but holds that a human 
body lasts long enough to be a substance. But this is 
obviously rather arbitrary. The duration of a human 
body is very small as compared with that of the 
pyramids and almost negligible as compared with 
that of a mountain. Thus, if the distinction is to turn 
on mere duration, it seems difficult to find any safe 
resting-place between the two extreme views of Dr 
M'Taggart and of Spinoza, viz., that every particular 
existent, however transitory, is a substance, and that no 
existent can count as a substance unless it be eternal. 

The common-sense view does not fare very much 
better if we take the capacity for independent existence 
as the characteristic mark of a substance. No doubt it 
is extremely difficult to conceive of a perfectly isolated 
twinge of toothache, forming no part of a longer and 
wider whole, called a *'mind". But is it much easier 
to conceive the existence of a perfectly isolated human 
body, when you clearly understand what you are trying 
to do? Eating, breathing, sleeping, walking, etc., are 



30 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

all characteristic features of a living human body ; and 
it is hard to see how anything with these properties 
could be conceived to exist without air to breathe, ground 
to walk on, and so on. Thus the radical distinction 
which common-sense draws between the twinge of 
toothache, as a mere state incapable of independent 
existence, and the human body as a genuine substance 
capable of existing independently, seems rather arbitrary 
on reflection. A Substantival Monist, like Spinoza, 
would meet the difficulty by saying that no finite 
particulars are capable of independent existence and 
that therefore none of them deserves the name of 
"substance". According to this view, nothing less 
than the whole material world throughout Space and 
Time would deserve the name of "substance". All 
finite bodies are merely states or modifications of this, 
which last for longer or shorter times and then break 
up, giving place to other modifications. 

Probably many people would be ready to accept this 
mode of statement as on the whole the best way of ex- 
pressing the known facts about the material realm. 
Perhaps we might, however, put the case somewhat 
differently. We might hold that, whilst the difference 
between a substantive and an adjective is a difference 
of kind, that between substances and states is a matter 
of degree. Anyone who held Substantival Monism to 
mean that chairs or minds are literally adjectives^ i.e.^ 
universals and not particulars, would plainly be talking 
nonsense. It is plain that the proposition : John Smith 
exists, does not mean : The Universe has a John-Smithy 
character, for this is either meaningless or false. It 
must be admitted that some Monists have talked as if 
they meant to assert some such nonsense as this ; but 
it is charitable to suppose that they were merely ex- 
pressing themselves badly. The difference between an 
adjective and a substantive is that between a universal 
and a particular, and it is irreducible. On the other 
hand, what would commonly be called a "substance" 



INTRODUCTION 31 

and what would commonly be called a "mere state" 
are both particulars. Now I would suggest that it is 
quite reasonable to talk of " degree s of s ubstantiality ", 
Cceteris paribus^ an existent is more of a substance the 
longer it lasts and the less dependent it is on anything 
else. I should then agree with Spinoza to the following 
extent. I should say that the solar system is much more 
substantial than my body ; and that my body is much 
more substantial than a sneeze ; and that the whole 
material world, if it forms a single self-contained 
physical system, is still more of a substance than the 
solar system. So far I should agree with the more 
reasonable Substantival Monists, though I should state 
the facts in rather different language. 

But, although the question at issue is thus largely 
verbal, it is not wholly so. There are three closely 
connected points to be noticed which are not merely 
verbal, (r) Spinoza took a similar view about mind to 
that which I have just been stating in my own way 
about matter. He held that finite minds are not genuine 
substances any more than finite bodies ; they are just 
states or modifications of a single mind-substance. (He 
would of course have said ^'^ v(\\ndi-attribute'\ but for 
the present purpose there is no important distinction 
between what Spinoza calls an "attribute" and what I 
am calling a "substance".) Now I can accept the 
negative part of this statement tentatively, but I see 
very little reason to accept the positive part. I think it 
is perfectly true that finite minds have a comparatively 
low degree of substantiality, unless they are very 
different from what they appear in this life to be. No 
doubt my mind is more substantial than a twinge of 
toothache. But, in the first place, it apparently begins 
and ends in time. Again, it is apparently not existing 
during large parts of the time between my birth and my 
death. Lastly, it seems to be extremely dependent on 
my body. These appearances may of course be decep- 
tive ; we shall have to consider the question in greater 



32 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

detail in a future chapter. But I think we may fairly 
say that a human mind, taken at its face-value, is a 
poor sort of substance. 

So far I should agree with Spinoza. But I cannot 
see much reason to think that there is anything mental 
which is more substantial than finite minds, poor things 
as they are ; or that finite minds are states of some one 
mental substance which is more substantial than them- 
selves. The material realm does seem to form one 
single system in a fairly definite sense. All finite 
bodies have spatial relations to each other, and all 
physical events are causally interconnected by gravita- 
tion and other forces which bridge the spatio-temporal 
gaps between them. Moreover, the whole seems to be 
of much the same nature as the parts. The spatial and 
causal relations within a finite body and between its 
parts are of much the same nature as the spatial and 
causal relations between two finite bodies and within 
the material realm as a whole. Now, so far as one can 
see, there is very little analogy to this within the 
mental realm. No doubt some groups of minds form 
societies which last longer than any of their individual 
members ; and probably all human minds do belong to 
such societies. I think it would be perfectly correct to 
call Trinity College or the Judicial Committee of the 
Privy Council a "mental substance". But we must 
remember {ci) that a society is in many ways less 
substantial than the minds which compose it ; {p) that 
it is not a mental substance, in the sense that it is a 
mind, but only in the sense that its constituents are 
minds. A society of minds is not a big mind ;_ but a 
system of bodies (such as the solar system) is just a big 
body ; [c] there is no one society which includes all 
minds ; and {d) the minds which are included in any 
one society are also as a rule included in others which 
are not parts of the first. The essential point is 
that the relations within a mind and between its states 
seem to be different in kind from the relations between 



INTRODUCTION 33 

several minds and within a society, and that no society 
is at once all-inclusive and very highly unified. I 
therefore can see no good ground for believing in a 
single mental subslance of which all finite minds could 
be regarded as states or modifications. I think that 
this notion would become plausible only if we had 
reason to believe that all minds are in some kind of 
intimate telepathic union, analogous to gravitation in 
the material realm, and that the system thus formed 
was itself of the nature of a mind. 

(2) The second qualification that must be made to my 
tentative acceptance of a form of Substantival Monism - 
is tlTis; Th^ave granted that the typical mate^fial sub- 
stances of ordinary life, viz., human bodies, chairs, 
trees, etc., are only imperfectly substantial, since they 
are transitory and incapable of existing in isolation. 
And I have granted that the solar system, and still 
more the whole material realm, can claim a higher 
degree of substantiality. But might we not say that 
some things which are much smaller than the material 
substances of daily life, viz., molecules, atoms, electrons, 
etc., can claim a very high degree of substantiality? 
If this be so, we could not agree with Spinoza in holding 
that only the material realm as a whole deserves to be 
called a material substance ; we should have to hold 
that there are also certain parts of the material realm 
which have just as good claims to this name. And I 
think that this must be admitted. We ^took end urance 
and capacity for independent existence as two tests for 
substantiality. Now a thing may be enduring and 
self-subsistent for two different reasons, {a) It may be 
so because it is so very inclusive. The solar system is 
more enduring and self-subsistent than my body because 
there is so very little outside it to upset it. {U) A thing 
may not include very much, but it may be extremely 
stable. This may happen in two different ways, (i) It 
may be that, although there are many things outside it, 
it is indifferent to nearly all of them, so that they have 

C 



./ 



34 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

no hold on it. (ii) It may be that, although it is 
influenced by other things, it has an intense degree of 
internal unity and can be destroyed by these things 
only under very special circumstances which very 
seldom arise. Now it seems to be a fact that, as you 
divide up the material realm in Space and Time, there 
are certain definite stages of division below which dis- 
integrating forces which were formerly effective cease to 
be so, e.g., a chair can be broken up by many means, 
including an axe. A molecule cannot be split up by 
mechanical means, but it can be by heat or chemical 
reagents. The ordinary atoms are so stable that only 
heroic methods will break them up. I should say that, 
at the stages of molecules, atoms, and electrons, we 
come across genuine natural units each of which may 
fairly claim a high degree of substantiality. 

(3) There is one other remark to be made. We have 
said that the notion of a substance involves the per- 
sistence of something through a lapse of time, and that 
the longer this something persists the more substantial 
it is said to be. But common -sense distinguishes 
between the mere persistence oiform and the persistence 
of stuff. We can identify a certain ripple on a sheet of 
water and follow it as it moves along just as well as we 
can identify a certain speck of dust and follow it as it 
rests or moves through the air. But the persistence of 
the ripple is known to be just the fact that a certain 
kind of movement successively affects a continuous 
series of different particles of water ; whilst the per- 
sistence of the speck of dust is the fact that the same 
bit of stzff occupies successively the same or a continuous 
series of successive places. Now it is commonly held 
that the two kinds of persistence are essentially 
different ; and that things which have the latter kind 
are substances, whilst those which have only the former 
are not. On this view, if an electron could be shown 
to be merely a persistent vortex in the ether it would be 
denied to be a substance, even though it could be 



INTRODUCTION 35 

shown that such a vortex must go on for ever. For, it 
would be said, an electron on this theory fails to fulfil 
the second condition of substantiality. From the nature 
of the case a vortex in the ether could not exist without 
the ether existing to move in whirlpools, but the ether 
could quite well have existed without moving in this or 
any other way. Hence the ether is the only genuine 
substance concerned, and the electrons would be counted 
merely as states, though endless and indestructible 
states, of the ether. 

I doubt whether this sharp distinction between sub- 
stances and mere states, based on the difference between 
the two kinds of persistence, can be upheld, (i) We 
must notice that there are border-line cases in which 
there is persistence of form with gradual change of 
stuff. Here common-sense does not hesitate to hold 
that we have a persistent substance. A human body is 
a fairly obvious instance. No doubt at two moments 
near together the bulk of the stuff of which it is com- 
posed is the same ; but there is always some difference, 
and we all know that after a few years scarcely any of 
the same stuff remains. Yet, if the outward form and 
the characteristic ways of behaving are kept, no one 
hesitates to call it the same body or attempts to deny 
that it is a substance, (ii) Common-sense presumably 
regards a mind as a persistent substance ; yet it may 
fairly be doubted whether in this case there is anything 
corresponding to the notion of persistent stuff, (iii) 
These, however, are merely examples of the fact that 
common-sense is not perfectly consistent in practice, 
which we all knew before. The important question is 
whether there is really any fundamental difference 
between persistence of stuff and persistence of form. 
If this distinction can be got rid of, it must be by 
reducing persistence of stuff to persistence of form, I 
thinkr Let us consider the case of what would be 
called "the same bit of stuff" resting for a time in one 
place and then moving to another. We must first 



36 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

distinguish between its purely spatial properties, ue., 
its shape and size at any moment, and what I will call 
its " material qualities," i.e., its colour, weight, chemical 
and physical constants, and so on. Now, if the per- 
sistence of this bit of stuff is to be reduced to persistence 
of form, in a wide sense, this reduction must be made 
somewhat as follows. We should have to say that all 
that is meant by the persistence of a certain bit of stuff 
is that certain determinable characteristics are manifested 
throughout a period of time in one or in a continuous 
series of determinate forms throughout one or a con- 
tinuous series of places. 

This attempted reduction of persistence of stuff to 
persistence of form seems most plausible when we con- 
fine our attention to solid bodies with sharp outlines 
which rest or move about in vacuo or in a fluid medium 
markedly different from themselves. It is much less 
plausible when we try to apply it to a homogeneous 
fluid. Imagine a homogeneous incompressible fluid 
with no solid bodies in it. Let us consider a small 
volume at any place within this fluid. Then, whether 
the fluid were wholly at rest or there were currents 
steadily circulating within it, precisely the same pro- 
perties would continue to be manifested throughout the 
small volume that we have chosen for investigation. 
On the principles suggested above we should have to 
say in both cases that this volume contains a single per- 
sistent bit of stuff. But actually we always distinguish 
in theory the two cases [a) where the constancy of the 
properties manifested in any small volume is due to the 
fluid being at rest, so that nothing is flowing into or 
out of this volume ; and {b) where this constancy is 
due to the fact that the fluid is in a steady state of 
internal motion, and the matter which flows into the 
volume is always exactly like the matter which it dis- 
places therefrom. Since we plainly do distinguish 
these two cases in thought, even if we cannot always 
distinguish them in practice, it would seem that the 



INTRODUCTION 37 

attempted reduction of persistence of stuff to persistence 
of form has failed. (Of course it would be quite easy to 
distinguish the two cases in practice as well as in theory 
if we put a drop of highly coloured liquid into our 
fluid and saw whether the colour merely diffused slowly 
and equally in all directions or streamed out in one 
direction.) 

I am inclined to think that there is a more ultimate 
objection than this, which applies as much to the 
attempted reduction for solids as to its application to 
homogeneous fluids. It seems to me that the theory 
in question presupposes the existence of Absolute Space, 
in a quite crude and literal sense. When it is said 
that certain properties continue to pervade "the same 
place ", or that they successively pervade "a continuous 
series of different places ", we presuppose the existence 
and persistence of these places. We are in fact think- 
ing of Space as a kind of persistent homogeneous 
medium, which differs from the homogeneous-fluid 
ether only in the fact that it has nothing but spatial 
properties and that all its parts are eternally at rest. 
And we are thinking of the material properties as being 
manifested now in one part and now in another of this 
medium. But this just amounts to saying that the 
stuff of all material substances is Space. We shall 
still have to distinguish between a plurality of different 
bits of stuff, for each different volume in Space will now 
be a different bit of stuff. We have thus not got rid of 
the notion of stuff, nor dissolved persistence of stuff 
into persistence of form, nor avoided the necessity of 
accepting a plurality of different bits of stuff. The 
difference between this viev/ and the more usual one is 
not that the former avoids the notion of stuff altogether 
whilst the latter uses it. The real differences are these. 
(a) On the present view no bit of stuff" can move about ; 
and the motion of a body becomes the successive in- 
herence of the same or a continuous series of determinate 
qualities in a continuous series of different bits of stuff; 



38 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

whilst, on the more usual view, bits of stuff themselves 
move about. And {b) on the present view the various 
bits of stuff are just different volumes within a single 
continuum ; whilst, on the more usual view, the various 
bits of stujff are not all in contact with each other at 
any time. The former type of theory, as I have said, 
requires Absolute Space, in the literal substantival 
sense ; whilst the latter fits in with a Relational Theory 
of Space. JButL jLeither can do without the notion of 
stuff or without accepting a plurality of different bits of 
stuff; since Absolute Space becomes the stuff of the 
former theory, and the different parts of Absolute Space 
become the plurality of different bits of stuff. 

My conclusion then is that in the long run we cann ot 
be Substantival Monists about the materlalTealm. For, 
if it be true that Absolute Space would be one substance 
and that space is the only kind of stuff in the material 
world, it is equally true that every part of Absolute 
Space is a distinct substance, so that there will be as 
many bits of stuff as there are different spaces within 
Absolute Space. The differences between a hydro- 
dynamic and an atomic view of the material world are 
no doubt important; but it is a mistake to think that 
they are differences about Substantival Monism or 
Pluralism. For, as I have tried to show, both types of 
view presuppose Substantival Pluralism, though at 
different places. Really the question at issue between 
them is whether there is one kind of material stuff or 
many ; and this is the question of Specific-Prop.erty 
Monism or Pluralism. 



SECTION A 

Introductory Remarks 

" Est quaedam .... etiam nesciendi ars et scientia ; nam, si 
turpe est nescire quae possunt sciri, non minus turpe est scire se 
putare quae sciri nequeunt." (Lobeck, Aglaophamus, Bk. Ill : 
Procem.) 



SECTION A 

Alternative Theories of Life and Mind at the 
Level of Enlightened Common-sense 

Introductory Remarks 

In this section I propose to consider the problem of 
the mind's place in Nature, as it presents itself to 
educated persons who are acquainted in outline with 
the concepts and results of modern science. The 
restriction that I here impose on myself is that I take 
matter and mind to be very much as they appear to 
be to educated common-sense, and do not for the present 
consider in detail the modifications which philosophic 
criticism may introduce into those concepts. It will of 
course be necessary to remove this restriction at a later 
stage of the book ; and this may entail considerable 
modifications in any tentative conclusions that we may 
reach here. A discussion at the present level, though 
necessarily imperfect, would be by no means useless, 
even though it were not to be corrected by later and 
more accurate investigations. For there really is a 
good deal to be said, and a good many confusions to 
be cleared up, in the ordinary discussions about Mechan- 
ism and Vitalism or Interaction and Parallelism. 

The section is divided into two chapters ; the first 
on Mechanism, and its Alternatives^ and the second on 
The Traditional Problem of Body and Mind. I should 
like to point out that the first of these chapters is 
essentially a discussion of Specific-Property Monism 
and Pluralism within the material realm ; and that it 
has a most important bearing on "the connexion or 



42 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

lack of connexion between the various sciences ". If we 
give one kind of answer to the questions which are 
raised in that chapter we can hold that strictly there 
is one and only one science of matter, and that all the 
apparently different sciences which deal with various 
aspects of the material realm are merely departments 
of it. If we give the other kind of answer we shall 
have to hold that, even within the realm of matter, 
there is a plurality of sciences which are irreducible 
to each other, though they can be arranged in a hier- 
archical order. 



CHAPTER II 

Mechanism and its Alternatives 

In this chapter I want to consider some of the char- 
acteristic differences which there seem to be among 
material objects, and to inquire how far these differences 
are ultimate and irreducible. On the face of it the 
world of material objects is divided pretty sharply into 
those which are alive and those which are not. And 
the latter seem to be of many different kinds, such as 
Oxygen, Silver, etc. The question which is of the 
greatest importance for our purpose is the nature of 
living organisms, since the only minds that we know 
of are bound up with them. But the famous con- .- 
troversy between Mechanists and Vitalists about living 
organisms is merely a particular case of the general \ 
question : Are the apparently different kinds of material \ 
objects irreducibly different ? 

It is this general question which I want to discuss 
at present. I do not expect to be able to give a definite 
answer to it ; and I am not certain that the question 
can ever be settled conclusively. But we can at least 
try to analyse the various alternatives, to state them 
clearly, and to see the implications of each. Once 
this has been done it is at least possible that people 
with an adequate knowledge of the relevant facts may 
be able to answer the question with a definite Yes or 
No ; and, until it has been done, all controversy on 
the subject is very much in the air. I think one feels 
that the disputes between Mechanists and Vitalists are 
unsatisfactory for two reasons, (i) One is never quite 
sure what is meant by "Mechanism" and by "Vital- 



44 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

ism " ; and one suspects that both names cover a 
multitude of theories which the protagonists have never 
distinguished and put clearly before themselves. And 
(ii) one wonders whether the question ought not to have 
been raised long before the level of life. Certainly- 
living beings behave in a very different way from non- 
living ones ; but it is also true that substances which 
interact chemically behave in a very different way from 
those which merely hit each other, like two billiard- 
balls. The question : Is chemical behaviour ultimately 
different from dynamical behaviour? seems just as 
reasonable as the question : Is vital behaviour ulti- 
mately different from non-vital behaviour? And we 
are much more likely to answer the latter question 
rightly if we see it in relation to similar questions 
which might be raised about other apparent differences 
of kind in the material realm. 

The Ideal of PureJMe£hanism^ Let us first ask our- 
selves what would be the ideal of a mechanical view of 
the material realm. I think, in the first place, that it 
would suppose that there is only one fundamental kind 
of stuff out of which every material object is made. 
Next, it would suppose that this stuff has only one 
intrinsic quality, over and above its purely spatio- 
temporal and causal characteristics. The property 
ascribed to it might, e.g:, be inertial mass or electric 
charge. Thirdly, it would suppose that there is only 
one fundamental kind of change, viz., change in the 
relative positions of the particles of this stuff. Lastly, 
it would suppose that there is one fundamental law 
according to which one particle of this stuff affects the 
changes of another particle. It would suppose that 
this law connects particles by pairs, and that the 
action of any two aggregates of particles as wholes on 
each other is compounded in a simple and uniform way 
from the actions which the constituent particles taken 
by pairs would have on each other. Thus the^ essence 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 45 

of Pure Mechanism is (a) a single kind of stuff, all of 
AvTTose~payts afe~exactly alike except for differences of 
position and motion ; {d) a single fundamental kind of 
change, viz., change of position. Imposed on this 
there may of course be changes of a higher order, e.g:, 
changes of velocity, of acceleration, and so on ; (c) 
a single elementary causal law, according to which 
particles influence each other by pairs ; and (d) a single 
and simple principle of composition, according to which 
the behaviour of any aggregate of particles, or the 
influence of any one aggregate on any other, follows 
in a uniform way from the mutual influences of the 
constituent particles taken by pairs. 

A set of gravitating particles, on the classical theory 
of gravitation, is an almost perfect example of the ideal 
of Pure Mechanism. The single elementary law is the 
inverse-square law for any pair of particles. The single 
and simple principle of composition is the rule that the 
influence of any set of particles on a single particle is 
the vector-sum of the influences that each would exert 
taken by itself. An electronic theory of matter departs 
to some extent from this ideal. In the first place, it 
has to assume at present that there are two ultimately 
different kinds of particle, viz., protons and electrons. 
Secondly, the laws of electro-magnetics cannot, so far 
as we know, be reduced to central forces. Thirdly, 
gravitational phenomena do not at present fall within 
the scheme ; and so it is necessary to ascribe masses as 
well as charges to the ultimate particles, and to intro- 
duce other elementary forces beside those of electro- 
magnetics. 

On a purely mechanical theory all the apparently \ 
different kinds of matter would be made of the same > 
stuff. They would differ only in the number, arrange- 
ment and movements of their constituent particles. 
And their apparently different kinds of behaviour would 
not be ultimately different. For they would all be 
deducible by a single simple principle of composition 



46 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

from the mutual influences of the particles taken by- 
pairs ; and these mutual influences would all obey a 
single law which is quite independent of the configura- 
tions and surroundings in which the particles happen 
to find themselves. The ideal which we have been 
describing and illustrating may be called "Pure 
Mechanism ". 

When a biologist calls himself a "Mechanist" it 
may fairly be doubted whether he means to assert 
anything so rigid as this. Probably all that he wishes 
to assert is that a living body is composed only of 
constituents which do or might occur in non-living 
bodies, and that its characteristic behaviour is wholly 
deducible from its structure and components and from 
the chemical, physical and dynamical laws which these 
materials would obey if they were isolated or were 
in non-living combinations. Whether the apparently 
different kinds of chemical substance are really just 
so many different configurations of a single kind of 
particles, and whether the chemical and physical laws 
are just the compounded results of the action of a 
number of similar particles obeying a single elementary 
law and a single principle of composition, he is not 
compelled as a biologist to decide. I shall later on 
discuss this milder form of "Mechanism," which is 
all that is presupposed in the controversies between 
mechanistic and vitalistic biologists. In the meanwhile 
I want to consider how far the ideal of Pure Mechanism 
could possibly be an adequate account of the world as 
we know it. 

Limitations of Pure Mechanism. No one of course 
pretends that a satisfactory account even of purely 
physical processes in terms of Pure Mechanism has 
ever been given ; but the question for us is : How far, 
and in what sense, could such a theory be adequate to 
all the known facts? On the face of it external objects 
have plenty of other characteristics beside mass or 
electric charge, e.g.^ colour, temperature, etc. And, on 



-V 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 47 

the face of it, many changes take place in the external 
world beside changes of position, velocity, etc. Now 
of course many different views have been held about 
the nature and status of such characteristics as colour ; 
but the one thing which no adequate theory of the 
external world can do is to ignore them altogether. I 
will state here very roughly the alternative types of 
theory, and show that^ norie of them is compatible with 
Pure Mechanism as a complete account of the facts, 
(i) There is the naive view that we are in immediate <7) 
cognitive contact with parts of the surfaces of external 
objects, and that the colours and temperatures which 
we perceive quite literally inhere in those surfaces in- 
dependently of our minds and of our bodies. On this 
view Pure Mechanism breaks down at the first move, 
for certain parts of the external world would have 
various properties different from and irreducible to 
the one fundamental property which Pure Mechanism 
assumes. This would not mean that what scientists 
have discovered about the connexion between heat 
and molecular motion, or light and periodic motion of 
electrons would be wrong. It might be perfectly true, 
so far as it went ; but it would certainly not be the 
whole truth about the external world. We should have 
to begin by distinguishing between " macroscopic " and 
"microscopic" properties, to use twp_ very convenient 
terrris adopted by Lorentz. Colours, temperatures, etc., 
would be macroscopic properties, ?>., they would need 
a certain minimum area or volume (and perhaps, as 
Dr Whitehead has suggested, a certain minimum 
duration) to inhere in. Other properties, such as mass 
or electric charge, might be able to inhere in volumes 
smaller than these minima and even in volumes and 
durations of any degree of smallness. Molecular and 
electronic theories of heat and light would then assert 
that a certain volume is pervaded by such and such a 
temperature or such and such a colour if and only if it 
contains certain arrangements of particles moving in 



^; 



48 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

certain ways. What we should have would be laws 
connecting the macroscopic qualities which inhere in a 
volume with the number, arrangement, and motion of 
the microscopic particles which are contained in this 
volume. 

On such a view how much would be left of Pure 
Mechanism? (i) It would of course not be true of 
macroscopic properties, (ii) It might still be true of 
the microscopic particles in their interactions with each 
other. It might be that there is ultimately only one 
kind of particle, that it has only one non-spatio-temporal 
quality, that these particles affect each other by pairs 
according to a single law, and that their effects are 
compounded according to a single law. (iii) But, 
even if this were true of the microscopic particles in 
their relations with each other, it plainly could not be 
the whole truth about them. For there will also be laws 
connecting the presence of such and such a configura- 
tion of particles, moving in such and such ways, in a 
certain region, with the pervasion of this region by 
such and such a determinate value of a certain macro- 
scopic quality, e.g., a certain shade of red or a tempera- 
ture of 57° C. These will be just as much laws of the 
external world as are the laws which connect the 
motions of one particle with those of another. And it 
is perfectly clear that the one kind of law cannot 
possibly be reduced to the other ; since colour and 
temperature are irreducibly different characteristics 
from figure and motion, however close may be the 
causal connexion between the occurrence of the one 
kind of characteristic and that of the other. Moreover, 
there will have to be a number of different and irreduc- 
ible laws connecting microscopic with macroscopic 
characteristics ; for there are many different and irre- 
ducible determinable macroscopic characteristics, e.g., 
colour, temperature, sound, etc. And each will need 
its own peculiar law. 

(2) A second conceivable view would be that in 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 49 

perception we are in direct cognitive contact with parts 
of the surfaces of external objects, and that, so long as 
we are looking at them or feeling them, they do have 
the colours or temperatures which they then seem to us 
to have. But that the inherence of colours and tempera- 
tures in external bodies is dependent upon the presence 
of a suitable bodily organism, or a suitable mind, or of 
both, in a suitable relation to the external object. 

On such a view it is plain that Pure Mechanism 
cannot be an adequate theory of the external world of 
matter. For colours and temperatures would belong 
to external objects on this view, though they would 
characterise an external object only when very special 
conditions are fulfilled. And evidently the laws accord- 
ing to which, e.g.,) a certain shade of colour inheres in 
a certain external region when a suitable organism or 
mind is in suitable relations to that region cannot be 
of the mechanical type. 

(3) A third conceivable view is that physical objects 
can seem to have qualities which do not really belong 
to any physical object, e.g.^ that a pillar-box can seem 
to have a certain shade of red although really no 
physical object has any colour at all. This type of 
theory divides into two forms, {a) It might be held that, 
when a physical object seems to have a certain shade 
of red, there really is something in the world which has 
this shade of red, although this something cannot be a 
physical object or literally a part of one. Some would 
say that there is a red mental state — a "sensation " — ; 
others that the red colour belongs to something which 
is neither mental nor physical.* On either of these 
alternatives it would be conceivable that Pure Mechan- 
ism was the whole truth about matter considered in its 
relations with matter. But it would be certain that it 
is not the whole truth about matter when this limitation 
is removed. Granted that bits of matter only seem to 
be red or to be hot, we still claim to know a good deal 
about the conditions under which one bit of matter will 

* {b) It might be held that nothing in the world really has colour, though 
certain things seem to have certain colours. The relation of ''seeming to 
have " is taken as ultimate. 

D 



=) 



50 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

seem to be red and another to be blue and about the 
conditions under which one bit of matter will seem to 
be hot and another to be cold. This knowledge belongs 
partly to physics and partly to the physiology and 
anatomy of the brain and nervous system. We know 
little or nothing about the mental conditions which have 
to be fulfilled if an external object is to seem red or 
hot to a percipient ; but we can say that this depends 
on an unknown mental factor x and on certain physical 
conditions a, b, c, etc., partly within and partly outside 
the percipient's body, about which we know a good 
deal. It is plain then that, on the present theory, 
physical events and objects do not merely interact 
mechanically with each other ; they also play their 
part, along with a mental factor, in causing such and 
such an external object to seem to such and such an 
observer to have a certain quality which really no 
physical object has. In fact, for the present purpose, 
the difference between theories (2) and (3) is simply 
the following. On theory (2) certain events in the 
external object, in the observer's body, and possibly 
in his mind, cause a certain quality to inhere in the 
external object so long as they are going on. On 
theory (3) they cause the same quality to seem to inhere 
in the same object, so long as they are going on, 
though actually it does not inhere in any physical 
object. Theory (i), for the present purpose, differs 
from theory (2) only in taking the naive view that 
the body and mind of the observer are irrelevant to 
the occurrence of the sensible quality in the external 
object, though of course it would admit that these 
factors are relevant to the perception of this quality 
by the observer. This last point is presumably 
common to all three theories. 

I will now sum up the argument. The plain 

;(CO I fact is that the external world, as perceived by us, 

"^^ '^^ I seems not to have the homogeneity demanded by 

Pure Mechanism. If it really has the various irreduc- 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 51 

ibly different sensible qualities which it seems to have, 
Pure Mechanism cannot be true of the whole of the l^ 
external world and cannot be the whole truth about 
any part of it. The best that we can do for Pure 
Mechanism on this theory is to divide up the external 
world first on a macroscopic and then on a microscopic 
scale ; to suppose that the macroscopic qualities which 
pervade any region are causally determined by the 
microscopic events and objects which exist within it ; 
and to hope that the latter, in their interactions with 
each other at any rate, fulfil the conditions of Pure 
Mechanism. This result may remind the reader of 
the carefully qualified compliment which Mr Gibbon 
pays to the morality of the Negroes in a foot-note 
which I forbear from quoting. We must remember, 
moreover, that there is no a priori reason why micro- 
scopic events and objects should answer the demands 
of Pure Mechanism even in their interactions with 
each other ; that, so far as science can tell us at 
present, they do not ; and that, in any case, the laws 
connecting them with the occurrence of macroscopic 
qualities cannot be mechanical in the sense defined. 

If, on the other hand, we deny that physical objects 
have the various sensible qualities which they seem to 
us to have, we are still left with the fact that some 
things seem to be red, others to be blue, others to be 
hot, and so on. And a complete account of the world 
must include some explanation of such events as ''seem- 
ing red to me", ''seeming blue to you", etc. We 
can admit that the ultimate physical objects may all 
be exactly alike, may all have only one non-spatio- 
temporal and non-causal property, and may interact 
with each other in the way which Pure Mechanism 
requires. But we must admit that they are also cause- 
factors in determining the appearance, if not the occurrence, 
of the various sensible qualities at such and such places 
and times. And, in these transactions, the laws which 
they obey cannot be mechanical. 



* 



52 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

We may put the whole matter in a nutshell by saying 
that the appearance of a plurality of irreducible sensible 
qualities forces us, no matter what theory we adopt 
about their status, to distinguish two different kinds 
of law. One may be called " intra-physical " and the 
other "trans-physical". The intra-physical laws may 
be, though there seems no positive reason to suppose 
that they are, of the kind required by Pure Mechanism. 
If so, there is just one ultimate elementary intra- 
physical law and one ultimate principle of composition 
for intra-physical transactions. But the trans-physical 
laws cannot satisfy the demands of Pure Mechanism ; 
and, so far as I can see, there must be at least as many 
irreducible trans-physical laws as there are irreducible 
determinable sense-qualities. The nature of the trans- 
physical laws will of course depend on the view that 
we take about the status of sensible qualities. It will 
be somewhat different for each of the three alternative 
types of theory which I have mentioned, and it will 
differ according to which form of the third theory we 
adopt. But it is not necessary for our present purpose 
to go into further detail on this point. 

The Three Possible Ways of accounting for char- 
acteristic Differences of Behaviour. So far we have 
confined our attention to pure qualities, such as red, 
hot, etc. By calling these "pure qualities" I mean 
that, when we say "This is red", "This is hot", and 
so on, it is no part of the meaning of our predicate 
that " this " stands in such and such a relation to some- 
thing else. It is logically possible that this should be 
red even though "this" were the only thing in the 
world ; though it is probably not physically possible. 
I have argued so far that the fact that external objects 
seem to have a number of irreducibly different pure 
qualities makes it certain that Pure Mechanism cannot 
be an adequate account of the external world. I want 
now to consider differences of behaviour amonsr external 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 53 

objects. These are not differences of pure quality. 
When I say "This combines with that", "This eats 
and digests ", and so on, I am making statements which 
would have no meaning if " this " were the only thing 
in the world. Now there are apparently extremely 
different kinds of behaviour to be found among external 
objects. A bit of gold and a bit of silver behave quite 
differently when put into nitric acid. A cat and an 
oyster behave quite differently when put near a mouse. 
Again, all bodies which would be said to be "alive", 
behave differently in many ways from all bodies which 
would be said not to be "alive". And, among non- 
living bodies, what we call their "chemical behaviour" 
is very different from what we call their "merely physical 
behaviour". The question that we have now to discuss 
is this : "Are the differences between merely physical, 
chemical, and vital behaviour ultimate and irreducible 
or not? And are the differences in chemical behaviour 
between Oxygen and Hydrogen, or the differences in 
vital behaviour between trees and oysters and cats, 
ultimate and irreducible or not?" I do not expect to 
be able to give a conclusive answer to this question, as 
I do claim to have done to the question about differences 
of pure quality. But I hope at least to state the possible 
alternatives clearly, so that people with an adequate 
knowledge of the relevant empirical facts may know 
exactly what we want them to discuss, and may not 
beat the air in the regrettable way in which they too 
often have done. 

We must first notice a difference between vital be- 
haviour, on the one hand, and chemical behaviour, on 
the other. On the macroscopic scale, i.e.^ within the 
limits of what we can perceive with our unaided senses 
or by the help of optical instruments, all matter seems 
to behave chemically from time to time, though there 
may be long stretches throughout which a given bit 
of matter has no chance to exhibit any marked chemical 
behaviour. But only a comparatively few bits of matter 



/ 



54 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

ever exhibit vital behaviour. These are always very 
complex chemically ; they are always composed of the 
same comparatively small selection of chemical elements ; 
and they generally have a characteristic external form 
and internal structure. All of them after a longer or 
shorter time cease to show vital behaviour, and soon 
after this they visibly lose their characteristic external 
form and internal structure. We do not know how to 
make a living body out of non-living materials ; and 
we do not know how to make a once living body, 
which has ceased to behave vitally, live again. But 
we know that plants, so long as they are alive, do 
take up inorganic materials from their surroundings 
and build them up into their own substance ; that 
all living bodies maintain themselves for a time through 
constant change of material ; and that they all have 
the power of restoring themselves when not too severely 
injured, and of producing new living bodies like them- 
selves. 

Let us now consider what general types of view are 
possible about the fact that certain things behave in 
characteristically different ways, (i) Certain character- 
istically different ways of behaving may be regarded as 
absolutely unanalysable facts which do not depend in 
any way on differences of structure or components. 
This would be an absurd view to take about vital 
behaviour, for we know that all living bodies have a 
complex structure even on the macroscopic scale, and 
that their characteristic behaviour depends m part at 
least on their structure and components. It would also 
be a foolish view to take about the chemical behaviour 
of non-living substances which are known to be com- 
pounds and can be split up and re-synthesised by us 
from their elements. But it was for many years the 
orthodox view about the chemical elements. It was 
held that the characteristic differences between the 
behaviour of Oxygen and Hydrogen are due in no 
v/ay to differences of structure or components, but must 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 55 

simply be accepted as ultimate facts. This first alter- 
native can hardly be counted as one way of explain- 
ing differences of behaviour, since it consists in 
holding that there are certain differences which can- 
not be explained, even in part, but must simply be 
swallowed whole with that philosophic jam which 
Professor Alexander calls "natural piety". It is 
worth while to remark that we could never be logic- 
ally compelled to hold this view, since it is always 
open to us to suppose that what is macroscopically 
homogeneous has a complex microscopic structure 
which wholly or partly determines its characteristic 
macroscopic behaviour. Nevertheless, it is perfectly 
possible that this hypothesis is not true in certain cases, 
and that there are certain ultimate differences in the 
material world which must just be accepted as brute 
facts. 

(2) We come now to types of theory which profess 
to explain, wholly or partly, differences of behaviour 
in terms of structure or components or both. These 
of course all presuppose that the objects that we are 
dealing with are at any rate microscopically complex : 
an hypothesis, as I have said, which can never be 
conclusively refuted. We may divide up these theories 
as follows, {a) Those which hold that the characteristic 
behaviour of a certain object or class of objects is in 
part dependent on the presence of a peculiar component 
which does not occur in anything that does not behave 
in this way. This is of course the usual view to take 
about the characteristic chemical behaviour of com- 
pounds. We say that Silver Chloride behaves differ- 
ently from Common Salt because one contains Silver 
and the other Sodium. It is always held that differ- 
ences of microscopic structure are also relevant to ex- 
plaining differences of macroscopic chemical behaviour. 
E.g., the very marked differences between the chemical 
behaviour of acetone and propion aldehyde, which both 
consist of Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen in exactly 



56 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

the same proportions, are ascribed to the fact that the 
former has the structure symbolised by 
CH3— C— CH3 

O 

and that the latter has the structure symbolised by 

CHg ' Crit, ' C<^ 

\H 

The doctrine which I will call "Substantial Vitalism " 
is logically a theory of this type about vital behaviour. 
It assumes that a necessary factor in explaining the 
characteristic behaviour of living bodies is the presence 
in them of a peculiar component, often called an 
"Entelechy", which does not occur in inorganic 
matter or in bodies which were formerly alive but 
have now died. I will try to bring out the analogies 
and differences between this type of theory as applied 
to vital behaviour and as applied to the behaviour of 
chemical compounds, (i) It is not supposed that the 
presence of an entelechy is sufficient to explain vital 
behaviour ; as in chemistry, the structure of the com- 
plex is admitted to be also an essential factor, (ii) It 
is admitted that entelechies cannot be isolated, and 
that perhaps they cannot exist apart from the complex 
which is a living organism. But there is plenty of 
analogy to this in chemistry. In the first place, 
elements have been recognised, and the characteristic 
behaviour of certain compounds has been ascribed to 
their presence, long before they were isolated. Secondly, 
there are certain groups, like CH3 and CgH^ in organic 
chemistry, which cannot exist in isolation, but which 
nevertheless play an essential part in determining the 
characteristic behaviour of certain compounds, (iii) The 
entelechy is supposed to exert some kind of directive 
influence over matter which enters the organism from 
outside. There is a faint analogy to this in certain 
parts of organic chemistry. The presence of certain 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 57 

groups in certain positions in a Benzene nucleus makes 
it very easy to put certain other groups and very hard 
to put others into certain positions in the nucleus. 
There are well-known empirical rules on this point. 

Why then do most of us feel pretty confident of 
the truth of the chemical explanation and very doubtful 
of the formally analogous explanation of vital behaviour 
in terms of entelechies? I think that our main reasons 
are the following, and that they are fairly sound ones, 
(i) It is true that some elements were recognised and 
used for chemical explanations long before they were 
isolated. But a great many other elements had been 
isolated, and it was known that the process presented 
various degrees of difficulty. No entelechy, or any- 
thing like one, has ever been isolated ; hence an 
entelechy is a purely hypothetical entity in a sense in 
which an as yet unisolated but suspected chemical 
element is not. If it be said that an isolated entelechy 
is from the nature of the case something which could 
not be perceived, and that this objection is therefore 
unreasonable, I can only answer (as I should to the 
similar assertion that the physical phenomena of medium- 
ship can happen only in darkness and in the presence 
of sympathetic spectators) that it may well be true but 
is certainly very unfortunate, (ii) It is true that some 
groups which cannot exist in isolation play a most 
important part in chemical explanations. But they 
Sive. groups of known composition, not mysterious simple 
entities; and their inability to exist by themselves is not 
an isolated fact but is part of the more general, though 
imperfectly understood, fact of valency. Moreover, we 
can at least pass these groups from one compound to 
another, and can note how the chemical properties 
change as one compound loses such a group and 
another gains it. There is no known analogy to this 
with entelechies. You cannot pass an entelechy from a 
living man into a corpse and note that the former ceases 
and the latter begins to behave vitally, (iii) Entelechies 



58 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

are supposed to differ in kind from material particles ; 
and it is doubtful whether they are literally in Space 
at all. It is thus hard to understand what exactly is 
meant by saying that a living body is a compound of 
an entelechy and a material structure ; and impossible 
to say anything in detail about the structure of the total 
complex thus formed. 

These objections seem to me to make the doctrine 
of Substantial Vitalism unsatisfactory, though not 
impossible. I think that those who have accepted it 
have done so largely under a misapprehension. They 
have thought that there was no alternative between 
Biological Mechanism (which I shall define a little 
later) and Substantial Vitalism. They found the 
former unsatisfactory, and so they felt obliged to 
accept the latter. We shall see in a moment, how- 
ever, that there is another alternative type of theory, 
which I will call "Emergent Vitalism", borrowing 
the adjective from Professors Alexander and Lloyd 
Morgan. Of course positive arguments have been 
put forward in favour of entelechies, notably by Driesch. 
I do not propose to consider them in detail. I will 
merely say that Driesch's arguments do not seem to 
me to be in the least conclusive, even against Biological 
Mechanism, because they seem to forget that the smallest 
fragment which we can make of an organised body by 
cutting it up may contain an enormous number of 
similar microscopic structures, each of enormous com- 
plexity. And, even if it be held that Driesch has con- 
clusively dzsproved Biological Mechanism, I cannot see 
that his arguments have the least tendency to prove 
Substantial Vitalism rather than the Emergent form of 
Vitalism which does not assume entelechies. 

{d) I come now to the second type of theory which 
professes to explain, wholly or partly, the differences of 
behaviour between different things. This kind of theory 
denies that there need be any peculiar component which 
is present in all things that behave in a certain way and 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 59 

is absent from all things which do not behave in this 
way. It says that the components may be exactly alike 
in both cases, and it tries to explain the difference of 
behaviour wholly in terms of difference of structure. 
Now it is most important to notice that this type of 
theory can take two radically different forms. They 
differ according to the view that we take about the laws 
which connect the properties of the components with 
the characteristic behaviour of the complex wholes 
which they make up. (i) On the first form of the theory 
the characteristic behaviour of the whole could not, even j 
in theory, be deduced from the most complete know- / 
ledge of the behaviour of its components, taken separ- 
ately or in other combinations, and of their proportions 
and arrangements in this whole. This alternative, which I 
I have roughly outlined and shall soon discuss in detail, 
is what I understand by the "Theory of Emergence". 
I cannot give a conclusive example of it, since it is a 
matter of controversy whether it actually applies to 
anything. But there is no doubt, as I hope to show, 
that it is a logically possible view with a good deal in 
its favour. I will merely remark that, so far as we 
know at present, the characteristic behaviour of Common 
Salt cannot be deduced from the most complete know- 
ledge of the properties of Sodium in isolation ; or of 
Chlorine in isolation ; or of other compounds of Sodium, 
such as Sodium Sulphate, and of other compounds of 
Chlorine, such as Silver Chloride, (ii) On the second 
form of the theory the characteristic behaviour of the 
whole is not only completely determined by the nature 
and arrangement of its components ; in addition to this 
it is held that the behaviour of the whole could, in 
theory at least, be deduced from a sufficient knowledge 
of how the components behave in isolation or in other 
wholes of a simpler kind. I will call this kind of theory 
"Mechanistic". A theory may be "mechanistic" in 
this sense without being an instance of Pure Mechanism, 
in the sense defined earlier in this chapter. E.g.^ if a 



6o MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 



I 

^1 



biologist held that all the characteristic behaviour of 
living beings could be deduced from an adequate know- 
ledge of the physical and chemical laws which its 
components would obey in isolation or in non-living 
complexes, he would be called a "Biological Mechanist" 
even though he believed that the different chemical 
elements are ultimately different kinds of stuff and that 
the laws of chemical composition are not of the type 
demanded by Pure Mechanism. 

The most obvious examples of wholes to which a 
mechanistic theory applies are artificial machines. A 
clock behaves in a characteristic way. But no one 
supposes that the peculiar behaviour of clocks depends 
on their containing as a component a peculiar entity 
which is not present in anything but clocks. Nor does 
anyone suppose that the peculiar behaviour of clocks is 
simply an emergent quality of that kind of structure 
and cannot be learnt by studying anything but clocks. 
We know perfectly well that the behaviour of a clock 
can be deduced from the particular arrangement of 
springs, wheels, pendulum, etc., in it, and from general 
laws of mechanics and physics which apply just as 
much to material systems which are not clocks. 

To sum up. We have distinguished three possible 
types of theory to account wholly or" partly for the 
characteristic differences of behaviour between different 
kinds of material object, viz., the Theory of a Special 
Component, the Theory of Emergence, and the Mechan- 
istic Theory. We have illustrated these, so far as 
possible, with examples which everyone will accept. 
In the special problem of the peculiar behaviour of 
living bodies these three types of theory are represented 
by Substantial Vitalism, Emergent Vitalismj and Bio- 
logical Mechanism. I have argued that Substantial 
"Vitalism, though logically possible, is a very unsatis- 
factory kind of theory, and that probably many people 
who have accepted it have done so because they did not 
recognise the alternative of Emergent Vitalism. I 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 6i 

propose now to consider in greater detail the emergent 
and the mechanistic types of theory. 

Emergent Theories. Put in abstract terms the emergent 
theory asserts that there are certain wholes, composed 
(say) of constituents A, B, and C in a relation R to 
each other ; that all wholes composed of constituents of 
the same kind as A, B, and C in relations of the same 
kind as R have certain characteristic properties ; that 
A, B, and C are capable of occurring in other kinds of 
complex where the relation is not of the same kind as 
R ; and that the characteristic properties of the whole 
R(A, B, C) cannot, even in theory, be deduced from the 
most complete knowledge of the properties of A, B, and 
G in isolation or in other wholes which are not of the 
form R(A, B, C). The mechanistic theory rejects the 
last clause of this assertion. 

Let us now consider the question in detail. If we 
want to explain the behaviour of any whole in terms of 
its structure and components we always need two inde- 
pendent kinds of information, {a) We need to know 
how the parts would behave separately. And ib) we 
need to know the law or laws according to which the 
behaviour of the separate parts is compounded when 
they are acting together in any proportion and arrange- 
ment. Now it is extremely important to notice that 
these two bits of information are quite independent of 
each other in every case. Let us consider, e.g.^ the 
simplest possible case. We know that a certain tap, 
when running by itself, will put so many cubic centi- 
metres of water into a tank in a minute. We know 
that a certain other tap, when running by itself, will 
put so many cubic centimetres of water into this tank in 
the same time. It does not follow logically from these 
two bits of information that, when the two taps are 
turned on together, the sum of these two numbers of 
cubic centimetres will be added to the contents of the 
tank every minute. This might not happen for two 
reasons. In the first place, it is quite likely that, if the 



62 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

two taps came from the same pipe, less would flow from 
each when both were turned on together than when 
each was turned on separately ; i.e., the separate factors 
do not behave together as they would have behaved in 
isolation. Again, if one tap delivered hot water and 
the other cold water, the simple assumption about com- 
position would break down although the separate factors 
continued to obey the same laws as they had followed 
when acting in isolation. For there would be a change 
of volume on mixture of the hot and cold water. 

Next let us consider the case of two forces acting 
on a particle at an angle to each other. We find by 
experiment that the actual motion of the body is the 
vector-sum of the motions which it would have had if 
each had been acting separately. There is not the least 
possibility of deducing this law of composition from the 
laws of each force taken separately. There is one other 
fact worth mentioning here. As Mr Russell pointed 
out long ago, a vector-sum is not a sum in the ordinary 
sense of the word. We cannot strictly say that each 
force is doing what it would have done if it had been 
alone, and that the result of their joint action is the sum 
of the results of their separate actions. A velocity of 
5 miles an hour in a certain direction does not literally 
contain as parts a velocity of 3 miles an hour in a certain 
other direction and a velocity of 4 miles an hour in a 
direction at right angles to this. All that we can say 
is that the effect of several forces acting together is a 
fairly simple mathematical function of the purely hypo- 
thetical effects which each would have had if it had 
acted by itself, and that this function reduces to an 
algebraical sum in the particular case where all the 
forces are in the same line. 

We will now pass to the case of chemical composition. 
Oxygen has certain properties and Hydrogen has 
certain other properties. They combine to form water, 
and the proportions in which they do this are fixed. 
Nothing that we know about Oxygen by itself or in its 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 6^. 



vJ 



combinations with anything but Hydrogen would give 
us the least reason to suppose that it would combine 
with Hydrogen at all. Nothing that we know about 
Hydrogen by itself or in its combinations with anything 
but Oxygen would give us the least reason to expect 
that it would combine with Oxygen at all. And most 
of the chemical and physical properties of water have no 
known connexion, either quantitative or qualitative, 
with those of Oxygen and Hydrogen. Here we have a 
clear instance of a case where, so far as we can tell, the 
properties of a whole composed of two constituents 
could not have been predicted from a knowledge of the 
properties of these constituents taken separately, or 
from this combined with a knowledge of the properties 
of other wholes which contain these constituents. 

Let us sum up the conclusions which may be reached 
from these examples before going further. It is clear 
that in no case could the behaviour of a whole composed 
of certain constituents be predicted merely from a 
knowledge of the properties of these constituents, taken 
separately, and of their proportions and arrangements 
in the particular complex under consideration. When- 
ever this seems to be possible it is because we are using 
a suppressed premise which is so familiar that it has 
escaped our notice. The suppressed premise is the 
fact that we have examined other complexes in the past 
and have noted their behaviour ; that we have found a 
general law connecting the behaviour of these wholes 
with that which their constituents would show in 
isolation ; and that we are assuming that this law of 
composition will hold also of the particular complex 
whole at present under consideration. For purely 
dynamical transactions this assumption is pretty well 
justified, because we have found a simple law of com- 
position and have verified it very fully for wholes of 
very different composition, complexity, and internal 
structure. It is therefore not particularly rash to expect 
to predict the dynamical behaviour of any material 



64 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

complex under the action of any set of forces, however 
much it may differ in the details of its structure and 
parts from those complexes for which the assumed law 
of composition has actually been verified. 

The example of chemical compounds shows us that 
we have no right to expect that the same simple law of 
composition will hold for chemical as for dynamical 
transactions. And it shows us something further. It 
shows us that, if we want to know the chemical (and 
many of the physical) properties of a chemical com- 
pound, such as silver-chloride, it is absolutely necessary 
to study samples of that particular compound. It would 
of course (on any view) be useless merely to study silver 
in isolation and chlorine in isolation ; for that would tell 
us nothing about the law of their conjoint action. This 
would be equally true even if a mechanistic explanation 
of the chemical behaviour of compounds were possible. 
The essential point is that it would also be useless to 
study chemical compounds in general and to compare 
their properties with those of their elements in the hope 
A^ \ of discovering a general law of composition by which the 

properties of any chemical compound could be foretold 
when the properties of its separate elements were known. 
So far as we know, there is no general law of this kind. 
It is useless even to study the properties of other com- 
pounds of silver and of other compounds of chlorine in 
the hope of discovering one general law by which the 
properties of silver-compounds could be predicted from 
those of elementary silver and another general law by 
which the properties of chlorine-compounds could be 
predicted from those of elementary chlorine. No doubt 
the properties of silver-chloride are completely determined 
by those of silver and of chlorine ; in the sense that 
whenever you have a whole composed of these two 
elements in certain proportions and relations you have 
something with the characteristic properties of silver- 
chloride, and that nothing has these properties except a 
whole composed in this way. But the law connecting 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 65 

the properties of silver-chloride with those of silver and 
of chlorine and with the structure of the compound is, 
so far as we know, an unique and ultimate law. By this 
I mean {a) that it is not a special case which arises 
through substituting certain determinate values for 
determinable variables in a general law which connects 
the properties of any chemical compound with those of 
its separate elements and with its structure. And {U) 
that it is not a special case which arises by combining 
two more general laws, one of which connects the 
properties of any silver -compound with those of 
elementary silver, whilst the other connects the 
properties of any chlorine- compound with those of 
elementary chlorine. So far as we know there are no 
such laws. It is ic) a law which could have been dis- 
covered only by studying samples of silver -chloride 
itself, and which can be extended inductively only to 
other samples of the same substance. 

We may contrast this state of affairs with that which 
exists where a mechanistic explanation is possible. In 
order to predict the behaviour of a clock a man need 
never have seen a clock in his life. Provided he is 
told how it is constructed, and that he has learnt from 
the study of other material systems the general rules 
about motion and about the mechanical properties of 
springs and of rigid bodies, he can foretell exactly how 
a system constructed like a clock must behave. 

The situation with which we are faced in chemistry, 
which seems to offer the most plausible example of 
emergent behaviour, may be described in two alternative 
ways. These may be theoretically different, but in 
practice they are equivalent. (i) The first way of 
putting the case is the following. What we call the 
" properties " of the chemical elements are very largely 
propositions about the compounds which they form 
with other elements under suitable conditions. E.g.^ 
one of the "properties" of silver is that it combines 
under certain conditions with chlorine to give a com- 



66 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

pound with the properties of silver-chloride. Likewise 
one of the "properties" of chlorine is that under 
certain conditions it combines with silver to give a 
compound with the properties of silver-chloride. These 
*' properties " cannot be deduced from any selection of 
the other properties of silver or of chlorine. Thus we 
may say that we do not know all the properties of 
chlorine and of silver until they have been put in presence 
of each other ; and that no amount of knowledge about 
the properties which they manifest in other circum- 
stances will tell us what property, if any, they will 
manifest in these circumstances. Put in this way the 
position is that we do not know all the properties of 
any element, and that there is always the possibility 
of their manifesting unpredictable properties when put 
into new situations. This happens whenever a chemical 
compound is prepared or discovered for the first time. 
(ii) The other way to put the matter is to confine the 
name "property" to those characteristics which the 
elements manifest when they do not act chemically on 
each other, i.e.^ the physical characteristics of the 
isolated elements. In this case we may indeed say, if 
we like, that we know all the properties of each element ; 
but we shall have to admit that we do not know the 
laws according to which elements, which have these 
properties in isolation, together produce compounds 
having such and such other characteristic properties. 
] The essential point is that the behaviour of an as yet 
■vJ I unexamined compound cannot be predicted from a 
K/\^ \ knowledge of the properties of its elements in isolation 
or from a knowledge of the properties of their other 
compounds ; and it matters little whether we ascribe 
this to the existence of innumerable " latent" properties 
in each element, each of which is manifested only in 
the presence of a certain other element ; or to the lack 
of any general principle of composition, such as the 
parallelogram law in dynamics, by which the behaviour 
of any chemical compound could be deduced from its 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 67 

structure and from the behaviour of each of its elements 
in isolation from the rest. 

Let us now apply the conceptions, which I have been 
explaining and illustrating from chemistry, to the case 
of vital behaviour. We know that the bits of matter 
which behave vitally are composed of various chemical 
compounds arranged in certain characteristic ways. 
We have prepared and experimented with many of 
these compounds apart from living bodies, and we see 
no obvious reason why some day they might not all be 
synthesised and studied in the chepiical laboratory. A 
living body might be regarded as a compound of the 
second order, i.e.^ a compound composed of compounds ; 
just as silver-chloride is a compound~of the~fifsr order, 
z.^., one composed of chemical elements. Now it is 
obviously possible that, just as the characteristic be- 
haviour of a first-order compound could not be pre- 
dicted from any amount of knowledge of the properties 
of its elements in isolation or of the properties of other 
first-order compounds, so the properties of a second- 
order compound could not be predicted from any amount 
of knowledge about the properties of its first-order con- 
stituents taken separately or in other surroundings. 
Just as the only way to find out the properties of silver- 
chloride is to study samples of silver-chloride, and no 
amount of study of silver and of chlorine taken separately 
or in other combinations will help us ; so the only way , 
to find out the characteristic behaviour of living bodies j 

may be to study living bodies as such. And no amount ; 

of knowledge about how the constituents of a living \ J 

body behave in isolation or in other and non-living 
wholes might suffice to enable us to predict the char- ) 

acteristic behaviour of a living organism. This possi- \ 
bility is perfectly compatible with the view that the ' 
characteristic behaviour of a living body is completely 
determined by the nature and arrangement of the 
chemical compounds which compose it, in the sense 
that any whole which is composed of such compounds 



t^- 



\ i 



68 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

in such an arrangement will show vital behaviour and 
that nothing else will do so. We should merely have 
to recognise, as we had to do in considering a first- 
order compound like silver-chloride, that we are dealing 
with an ufiique and irreducible law ; and not with a 
special case which arises by the substitution of particular 
values for variables in a more general law, nor with a 
combination of several more general laws. 

We could state this possibility about living organisms 
in two alternative but practically equivalent ways, just 
as we stated the similar possibility about chemical com- 
pounds, (i) The first way would be this. Most of the 
properties which we ascribe to chemical compounds are 
statements about what they do in presence of various 
chemical reagents under certain conditions of tempera- 
ture, pressure, etc. These various properties are not 
deducible from each other ; and, until we have tried a 
compound with every other compound and under every 
possible condition of temperature, pressure, etc., we 
cannot possibly know that we have exhausted all its 
properties. It is therefore perfectly possible that, in 
the very special situation in which a chemical compound 
is placed in a living body, it may exhibit properties 
which remain "latent" under all other conditions, 
(ii) The other, and practically equivalent, way of 
putting the case is the following. If we confine the 
name "property" to the behaviour which a chemical 
compound shows in isolation, we may perhaps say that 
we know all the "properties" of the chemical con- 
stituents of a living body. But we shall not be able to 
predict the behaviour of the body unless we also know 
the laws according to which the behaviour which each 
of these constituents would have shown in isolation is 
compounded when they are acting together in certain 
proportions and arrangements. We can discover such 
laws only by studying complexes containing these 
constituents in various proportions and arrangements. 
And we have no right to suppose that the laws which 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 69 

we have discovered by studying non-living complexes 
can be carried over without modification to the very 
different case of living complexes. It may be that the 
only way to discover the laws according to which the 
behaviour of the separate constituents combines to 
produce the behaviour of the whole in a living body is 
to study living bodies as such. For practical purposes 
it makes little difference whether we say that the 
chemical compounds which compose a living body 
have "latent properties" which are manifested only 
when they are parts of a whole of this peculiar structure ; 
or whether we say that the properties of the constituents 
of a living body are the same whether they are in it or 
out of it, but that the law according to which these 
separate effects are compounded with each other is 
different in a living whole from what it is in any non- 
living whole. 

This view about living bodies and vital behaviour is 
what I call "Emergent Vitalism"; and it is important 
to notice that it is quite different from what I call "Sub- 
stantial Vitalism ". So far as I can understand them 
I should say that Driesch is a Substantial Vitalist, and 
that Dr J. S. Haldane is an Emergent Vitalist. But 
I may quite well be wrong in classifying these two 
distinguished men in this way. 

Mechanistic Theories. The mechanistic type of theory 
is much more familiar than the emergent type, and it 
will therefore be needless to consider it in great detail. 
I will just consider the mechanistic alternative about 
chemical and vital behaviour, so as to make the 
emergent theory still clearer by contrast. Suppose it 
were certain, as it is very probable, that all the dif- 
ferent chemical atoms are composed of positive and 
negative electrified particles in different numbers and 
arrangements ; and that these differences of number 
and arrangement are the only ultimate difference be- 
tween them. Suppose that all these particles obey the 
same elementary laws, and that their separate actions 



70 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

are compounded with each other according to a single 
law which is the same no matter how complicated may 
be the whole of which they are constituents. Then it 
would be theoretically possible to deduce the charac- 
teristic behaviour of any element from an adequate 
knowledge of the number and arrangement of the 
particles in its atom, without needing to observe a 
sample of the substance. We could, in theory, deduce 
what other elements it would combine with and in what 
proportions ; which of these compounds would be stable 
to heat, etc. ; and how the various compounds would 
react in presence of each other under given conditions 
of temperature, pressure, etc. And all this should be 
theoretically possible without needing to observe samples 
of these compounds. 

I want now to explain exactly what I mean by the 
qualification "theoretically", (i) In the first place the 
mathematical difficulties might be overwhelming in 
practice, even if we knew the structure and the laws. 
This is a trivial qualification for our present purpose, 
which is to bring out the logical distinction between 
mechanism and emergence. Let us replace Sir Ernest 
Rutherford by a mathematical archangel, and pass on. 
(2) Secondly, we cannot directly perceive the microscopic 
structure of atoms, but can only infer it from the macro- 
scopic behaviour of matter in bulk. Thus, in practice, 
even if the mechanistic hypothesis were true and the 
mathematical difficulties were overcome, we should have 
to start by observing enough of the macroscopic be- 
haviour of samples of each element to infer the probable 
structure of its atom. But, once this was done, it should 
be possible to deduce its behaviour in macroscopic con- 
ditions under which it has never yet been observed. 
That is, if we could infer its microscopic structure from 
a selection of its observed macroscopic properties, we 
could henceforth deduce all its other macroscopic pro- 
perties from its microscopic structure without further 
appeal to observation. The difference from the emergent 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 71 

theory is thus profound, even when we allow for our 
mathematical and perceptual limitations. If the emer- 
gent theory of chemical compounds be true, a mathe- 
matical archangel, gifted with the further power of 
perceiving the microscopic structure of atoms as easily 
as we can perceive hay-stacks, could no more predict 
the behaviour of silver or of chlorine or the properties 
of silver-chloride without having observed samples of 
those substances than we can at present. And he 
could no more deduce the rest of the properties of a 
chemical element or compound from a selection of its 
properties than we can. 

Would there be any theoretical limit to the deduction 
of the properties of chemical elements and compounds 
if a mechanistic theory of chemistry were true? Yes. 
Take any ordinary statement, such as we find in 
chemistry books ; e.g.^ " Nitrogen and Hydrogen com- 
bine when an electric discharge is passed through a 
mixture of the two. The resulting compound contains 
three atoms of Hydrogen to one of Nitrogen ; it is a 
gas readily soluble in water, and possessed of a pungent 
and characteristic smell." If the mechanistic theory be 
true the archangel could deduce from his knowledge of 
the microscopic structure of atoms all these facts but 
the last. He would know exactly what the microscopic 
structure of ammonia must be ; but he would be totally 
unable to predict that a substance with this structure 
must smell as ammonia does when it gets into the 
human nose. The utmost that he could predict on this 
subject would be that certain changes would take place 
in the mucous membrane, the olfactory nerves and so 
on. But he could not possibly know that these changes 
would be accompanied by the appearance of a smell in 
general or of the peculiar smell of ammonia in particular, 
unless someone told him so or he had smelled it for 
himself. If the existence of the so-called "secondary 
qualities," or the fact of their appearance, depends 
on the microscopic movements and arrangements of 



72 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

material particles which do not have these qualities 
themselves, then the laws of this dependence are 
certainly of the emergent type. 

The mechanistic theory about vital behaviour should 

now need little explanation. A man can hold it without 

being a mechanist about chemistry. The minimum 

that a Biological Mechanist need believe is that, in 

\ theory^ everything that is characteristic of the behaviour 

\ of a living body could be deduced from an adequate 

/ knowledge of its structure, the chemical compounds 

which make it up, and the properties which these show 

; in isolation or in non-living wholes. 

Logical Status of Emergence and Mechanism. I have 
now stated the two alternatives which alone seem 
worthy of serious consideration. It is not my business 
as a philosopher to consider detailed empirical argu- 
ments for or against mechanism or emergence in 
chemistry or in biology. But it is my business to 
consider the logical status of the two types of theory, 
and it is relevant to our present purpose to discuss how 
far the possibility of science is bound up with the 
acceptance of the mechanistic alternative. 

(i) I do not see any a priori impossibility in a 
mechanistic biology or chemistry, so long as it con- 
fines itself to that kind of behaviour which can be 
completely described in terms of changes of position, 
size, shape, arrangement of parts, etc. I have already 
argued that this type of theory cannot be the whole 
truth about all aspects of the material world. For one 
aspect of it is that bits of matter have or seem to have 
various colours, temperatures, smells, tastes, etc. If 
the occurrence or the appearance of these ''secondary 
qualities " depends on microscopic particles and events, 
the laws connecting the latter with the former are 
certainly of the emergent type. And no complete 
account of the external world can ignore these laws. 

(2) On the other hand, I cannot see the least trace 
of self-evidence in theories of the mechanistic type, or 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 73 

in the theory of Pure Mechanism which is the ideal 
towards which they strive. I know no reason whatever 
why new and theoretically unpredictable modes of be- 
haviour should not appear at certain levels of complexity, 
or why they must be explicable in terms of elementary 
properties and laws of composition which have mani- 
fested themselves in less complex wholes. 

(3) At the back of the Mechanist's mind there is 
undoubtedly a notion that there is something radically 
unscientific and superstitious about non-mechanistic 
theories. It will be well worth while to consider this 
vague belief carefully, and to see if there be anything 
in it. {a) In the first place, I think that the ordinary 
Biological Mechanist does not clearly distinguish be- 
tween the Substantial and the Emergent forms of 
Vitalism ; in fact he generally identifies Vitalism with 
Substantial Vitalism. Now there are grave objections 
to the first type of theory, which I have already pointed 
out. But it does not follow that they apply to the 
second type of Vitalism. 

{b) How far does the Biological Mechanist's vaguely 
felt objection to Vitalism remain when we confine our- 
selves to the emergent form of the theory ? I think that 
the parallel case of chemistry may help us to answer 
this question. It is perfectly certain that chemistry is 
a subject about which there is a great deal of scientific 
knowledge, and that this is constantly increasing. Now 
of course it may be true as a matter of fact that the 
atoms of the various elements are wholes composed 
of various numbers of similar particles with various 
arrangements and movements. And it may be true as 
a matter of fact that the laws of chemical combination, 
the properties of compounds and so on, are mere con- 
sequences of the laws of electro-magnetics and of the 
particular number, arrangement and movements of the 
particles which compose each kind of atom. It may 
even be true that all chemists now hold this opinion as 
a matter of scientific faith. But it is perfectly obvious 



74 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

that the progress of chemistry in the past has not 
depended either on the trtith of this proposition, or on 
the general acceptance of it by chemists. For chemistry 
had become a science of great extent and certainty long 
before the electron theory was thought of; and great 
advances were made in it by workers who utterly 
scouted the notion that the various elements were all 
made of a single kind of stuff, and that their differences 
were due simply to different arrangements of the 
particles of this stuff. And to this day chemists who 
accept the electronic theory can make scarcely any use 
of it in their chemical investigations. If then chemistry 
can be a scientific subject and can make steady progress 
without using the assumption that a mechanistic ex- 
planation of chemical phenomena is possible, it would 
presumably have made precisely the same progress if 
in fact no such explanation had been possible. And, 
if neither the possibility of mechanistic explanation nor 
the belief in it is essential to the progress of chemistry, 
it is hard to see how a parallel belief about vital pheno- 
mena can be essential to the progress of physiology. 

{c) Reflexion on chemistry will teach us another 
important fact, which applies equally to physiology. I 
have said that to learn the properties of silver-chloride 
we must at present study samples oi that substance ; and 
that we cannot deduce them from a knowledge of the 
properties of silver and of chlorine by themselves or in 
other combinations, by help of some general law con- 
necting the properties of any compound with those of 
its elements and with its structure. It does not follow 
that there are no general laws connecting some of the 
properties of compounds with those of their constituents 
and with their structure. There are plenty of such laws, 
and organic chemists in particular study them. For 
instance the presence of Carbon, Oxygen, and Hydrogen 

in the grouping Q/ is known to give a compound 

\OH 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 75 

with acidic properties. Obviously the way to find such 
laws is to keep the structure and all but one constituent 
fixed, and then to vary this constituent ; or to keep all 
the constituents fixed, and to vary the structure ; and 
so on. There might, e.g.^ be certain general properties 
which are common to all compounds of a certain 
structure which contain Chlorine, and these might vary 
in a perfectly characteristic way when the structure 
is kept fixed and Bromine or Iodine is substituted for 
the Chlorine. What we have to admit is that such 
laws have to be discovered independently by an actual 
study and comparison of the compounds ; they cannot 
be deduced from a mere knowledge of the properties 
which the constituents would have in isolation or in 
other wholes ; and they cannot be reduced to so many 
special cases of a single general law. 

Now laws like this could exist and could be discovered 
in Physiology on the emergent form of Vitalism, just 
as they can exist and be discovered in Chemistry. But 
they will have to be discovered by studying living 
beings, as such, and varying their constituents so far 
as possible one at a time while keeping the structure as 
constant as may be. If emergence be true they could 
not have been deduced from any amount of reflexion on 
the properties of these constituents taken separately or 
in non-living wholes ; nor, when they have been dis- 
covered, can they be reduced to so many special cases 
of a single general law which applies equally to the 
living and the non-living. I do not see that such 
a view conflicts with the actual procedure of any 
physiologist. No physiologist in practice professes to 
deduce the laws of living matter simply from what 
he knows of the properties which the constituents of 
living bodies, or substances more or less like them, 
exhibit in non-living wholes ; any more than a chemist 
in practice professes to deduce the properties of a com- 
pound wholly from the properties 'of its elements when 
free or in other combinations and from the supposed 



76 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

structure of its molecules. Thus, whatever the ultimate 
truth of the matter may be, both the chemist and the 
^ physiologist are forced in practice to behave as if the 
\i complexes with which they deal had emergent properties. 
(d) Let us now sum up the theoretical differences 
which the alternatives of Mechanism and Emergence 
would make to our view of the external world and 
of the relations between the various sciences. The 
advantage of Mechanism would be that it introduces 
a unity and tidiness into the world which appeals very 
strongly to our aesthetic interests. On that view, when 
pushed to its extreme limits, there is one and only one 
kind of material. Each particle of this obeys one 
elementary law of behaviour, and continues to do so no 
matter how complex may be the collection of particles 
of which it is a constituent. There is one uniform law 
of composition, connecting the behaviour of groups of 
these particles as wholes with the behaviour which each 
would show in isolation and with the structure of the 
group. All the apparently different kinds of stuif are 
just differently arranged groups of different numbers 
of the one kind of elementary particle ; and all the 
apparently peculiar laws of behaviour are simply special 
cases which could be deduced in theory from the 
structure of the whole under consideration, the one 
elementary law of behaviour for isolated particles, and 
the one universal law of composition. On such a view 
the external world has the greatest amount of unity 
/ which is conceivable. There is really only one science, 
and the various "special sciences" are just particular 
cases of it. This is a magnificent ideal ; it is certainly 
much more nearly true than anyone could possibly have 
suspected at first sight ; and investigations pursued 
under its guidance have certainly enabled us to discover 
many connexions within the external world which 
would otherwise have escaped our notice. But it has 
-/ no trace of self-evidence ; it cannot be the w/zo/e truth 
about the external world, since it cannot deal with the. 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 77 



existence or the appearance of "secondary qualities" ; 
until it is supplemented by laws of the emergent type . 
which assert that under such and such conditions such 
and such groups of elementary particles moving in 
certain ways have, or seem to human beings to have, 
such and such secondary qualities ; and it is certain 
that considerable scientific progress can be made without 
assuming it to be true. As a practical postulate it has 
its good and its bad side. On the one hand, it makes 
us try our hardest to explain the characteristic behaviour 
of the more complex in terms of the laws which we have 
already recognised in the less complex. If our efforts 
succeed, this is sheer gain. And, even if they fail, we 
shall probably have learned a great deal about the 
minute details of the facts under investigation which we 
might not have troubled to look for otherwise. On the 
other hand, it tends to over-simplification. If in fact 
there are new types of law at certain levels, it is very ':-. 
desirable that we should honestly recognise the fact. 
And, if we take the mechanistic ideal too seriously, we 
shall be in danger of ignoring or perverting awkward 
facts of this kind. This sort of over-simplification has 
certainly happened in the past in biology and physiology 
under the guidance of the mechanistic ideal ; and it of 
course reaches its wildest absurdities in the attempts 
which have been made from time to time to treat mental 
phenomena mechanistically. 

On the emergent theory we have to reconcile our- - 
selves to much less unity in the external world and a 2 ' ^ 
much J ess._„ln.timat& connexion between the various 
sciences. At best the external world and the various 
sciences that deal with it will form a kind of hierarchy. 
We might, if we liked, keep the view that there is only 
one fundamental kind of stuff. But we should have to 
recognise aggregates of various orders. And there \ 
would be two fundamentally different types of law, \ 
which might be called " intra-ordinal " and "trans- \ 
ordinal " respectively. A trans-ordinal law would be 



y^ MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

one which connects the properties of aggregates of 
adjacent orders. A and B would be adjacent, and in 
ascending order, if every aggregate of order B is 
composed of aggregates of order A, and if it has certain 
properties which no aggregate of order A possesses 
and which cannot be deduced from the A-properties 
and the structure of the B-complex by any law of 
composition which has manifested itself at lower levels. 
An intra-ordinal law would be one which connects the 
properties of aggregates of the same order. A trans- 
ordinal law would be a statement of the irreducible 
fact that an aggregate composed of aggregates of the 
next lower order in such and such proportions and 
arrangements has such and such characteristic and 
non-deducible properties. If we consider the properties 
of a given aggregate of high order we could then divide 
them into three classes, (i) Those which are character- 
istic of this order, in the sense that all aggregates of the 
order possess them, that no aggregate of lower order 
does so, and that they cannot be deduced from the 
structure of the aggregate and the properties of its 
constituents by any law of composition which has 
manifested itself in lower orders. These might be 
called the "ultimate characteristics" of the order, 
(ii) Those which are characteristic of this order ; but 
which could in theory be deduced from the structure 
of the aggregate, the properties of its constituents, and 
certain laws of composition which have manifested 
themselves in lower orders. These might be called 
"reducible characteristics" of the order. (iii) Pro- 
perties which aggregates of this order share with those 
of lower orders. These might be called " ordinally 
neutral properties ". I will now illustrate these 
conceptions. 

Suppose, e.g., that living bodies form an order of 
3-ggregates in the sense defined. Then the power of 
reproduction might be an example of an Ultimate 
Characteristic of this order. The law which asserts 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 79 

that all aggregates composed of such and such chemical 
substances in such and such proportions and relations 
have the power of reproduction would be an instance 
of a Trans-ordinal Law. The laws connecting the 
reproduction of living bodies with other ultimate 
characteristics of living bodies would be instances 
of Intra-ordinal Laws. A great many, though not 
perhaps all, of the facts about the beating of the heart 
might be Reducible Characteristics of this order. I.e.^ 
although they are characteristic of living beings, they 
might in theory be deduced from what we know of the 
chemical, physical, and mechanical properties of non- 
living aggregates, and from the special structure of the 
living body. Lastly, the conservation of energy, the 
property of inertial and gravitational mass, etc., would 
be examples of Ordinally Neutral Properties, since they 
appear unchanged in living bodies, chemical compounds, 
elements, etc. 

There is nothing, so far as I can see, mysterious or 
unscientific about a trans-ordinal law or about the notion 
of ultimate characteristics of a given order. A trans- 
ordinal law is as good a law as any other ; and, once it 
has been discovered, it can be used like any other to 
suggest experiments, to make predictions, and to give 
us practical control over external objects. The only 
peculiarity of it is that we must wait till we meet with 
an actual instance of an object of the higher order before 
we can discover such a law ; and that we cannot possibly 
deduce it beforehand from any combination of laws 
which we have discovered by observing aggregates of 
a lower order. There is an obvious analogy between 
the trans-ordinal laws which I am now discussing and 
the trans-physical laws which I mentioned in con- 
sidering Pure Mechanism and said must be recognised 
in any complete account of the external world. The 
difference is this. Trans-physical laws, in the sense 
in which we are using the term, are necessarily of the 
emergent type. For they connect the configurations 



8o MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

and internal motions of groups of microscopic particles, 
on the one hand, with the fact that the volume v/hich 
contains the group is, or appears to be, pervaded by- 
such and such a secondary quality. Since there are 
many irreducibly different kinds of secondary quality, e.g. 
colour, smell, temperature, etc., there tmist be many 
irreducible laws of this sort. Again, suppose we 
confine our attention to one kind of secondary quality, 
say colour. The concepts of the various colours — red, 
blue, green, etc. — are not contained in the general 
concept of Colour in the sense in which we might quite 
fairly say that the concepts of all possible motions are 
contained in the general concepts of Space and of 
Motion. We have no difficulty in conceiving and 
adequately describing determinate possible motions 
which we have never witnessed and which we never 
shall witness. We have merely to assign a determinate 
direction and a determinate velocity. But we could not 
possibly have formed the concept of such a colour as 
blue or such a shade as sky-blue unless we had per- 
ceived instances of it, no matter how much we had 
reflected on the concept of Colour in general or on the 
instances of other colours and shades which we had 
seen. It follows that, even when we know that a certain 
kind of secondary quality [e.g.^ colour) pervades or 
seems to pervade a region when and only when such 
and such a kind of microscopic event {e.g., vibrations) 
is going on within the region, we still could not possibly 
predict that such and such a determinate event of the 
kind {e.g., a circular movement of a certain period) 
would be connected with such and such a determinate 
shade of colour {e.g., sky-blue). The trans-physical 
laws are then necessarily of the emergent type. 

On the other hand, emergent laws are not necessarily 
trans-physical, and it cannot be positively proved that 
any intra-physical law is emergent, (i) The process of 
breathing is a particular kind of movement which goes 
on in living bodies. And it can be described without 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 8i 

any essential reference to secondary qualities. Yet in 
its details it may be such that it could not be deduced 
from any amount of knowledge about non-living wholes 
and the movements that take place in them. If so, it is 
an "ultimate characteristic" of the vital order, and 
it is determined by a trans-ordinal law. But this law 
is not trans-physical, in the sense defined, (ii) On the 
other hand, since it is a movement and since the 
characteristic movements of some complex wholes {e.g., 
clocks) can be predicted from a knowledge of their 
structure and of other complex wholes which are not 
clocks, it cannot be positively proved that breathing is 
an "ultimate characteristic" or that its causation is 
emergent and not mechanistic. Within the physical 
realm it always remains logically possible that the 
appearance of emergent laws is due to our imperfect 
knowledge of microscopic structure or to our mathemati- 
cal incompetence. But this method of avoiding emergent 
laws is not logically possible for trans-physical processes, 
as I have tried to show. 

Teleology, Mechanism, and Design. I have so far 
discussed Mechanism and its alternatives in a perfectly 
general way ; and have said nothing in detail concern- 
ing those peculiar facts about living organisms which 
make it plausible to distinguish a "Vital Order" with 
"ultimate characteristics" of its own. Now the 
peculiarities of living organisms are often summed 
up in the phrase that organisms are " Teleological 
Systems ". And there is thought to be some special 
connexion between Teleology and Design, and some 
special opposition between Teleology and Mechanism. 
I shall end this chapter by trying to clear up these 
points. 

Teleology is an observable characteristic__which 
certainly belongs to some thingsjn the world. Design 
is a particular cause which certainly produces teleology 
in some cases. I want to begin by defining "teleology" 

F 



82 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

in such a way that there shall be no doubt of its ex- 
istence and that the admission of this fact shall not pre- 
suppose the acceptance of any special theory. Suppose 
that a system is composed of such parts arranged in 
such ways as might have been expected if it had been 
constructed by an intelligent being to fulfil a certain 
purpose which he had in mind. And suppose that, 
when we investigate the system more carefully under 
the guidance of this hypothesis, we discover hitherto 
unnoticed parts or hitherto unnoticed relations between 
the parts, and that these are still found to accord with 
the hypothesis. Then I should call this system 
" teleological". It will be noticed that there are two 
clauses in the definition. The first is that our more or 
less superficial knowledge of the system suggests that it 
was designed for a special purpose which a rational 
mind might be likely to entertain. The second is that, 
if we use this hypothesis as a clue to more minute 
investigation, we continue to find that the system is 
constructed as if the hypothesis were true. I think that 
probably both factors are necessary. Of any system 
whatever we might suppose that it was designed to do 
what we actually find it doing. But in general we 
should not find that this gave us any clue to investi- 
gating its more minute structure or predicting its 
unobserved behaviour. 

Now it seems to me perfectly certain that the world 
contains systems which are teleological, in this sense. 
The most obvious examples of such systems are 
machines, like watches, motor-cars, etc. In this case 
of course we start by knowing that they have in fact 
been designed by intelligent beings for a certain 
purpose, such as telling the time or conveying people 
quickly along roads. Knowing this we can explain, as 
we say, "what each part is for." Suppose now we 
were to meet with a certain machine for the first time 
and to know nothing about the purpose of its con- 
structor. As we have met with plenty of other machines 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 83 

(though none exactly like this) ; as we know that all of 
these have been made by some human being for some 
purpose ; and as we know of no machines which have 
arisen in any other way ; we may legitimately infer 
that this one also was constructed by a human being 
for some purpose. By studying the action of the 
machine we may then be able to guess what the purpose 
probably was. We can then predict how it will 
probably be constructed in detail, and how it will 
probably work under various circumstances. And, if 
our predictions are found to be true, it is likely that we 
have hit on the true purpose of the machine. I will 
call the kind of teleology which is shown by watches, 
motor-cars, and other artificial machines, ''external 
teleology ". By this I mean that the purpose for which 
such systems were constructed, and by which their 
minute structure can be anticipated, is not wholly or 
mainly to keep themselves going or to produce other 
machines like themselves. Their main function is to do 
something, such as telling the time, which is of interest 
not to themselves but to their makers or other men. 

Now it seems to me equally clear that living 
organisms are teleological systems in the sense defined. 
The most superficial knowledge of organisms does 
make it look as if they were very complex systems 
designed to preserve themselves in face of varying and 
threatening external conditions and to reproduce their 
kind. And, on the whole, the more fully we investigate 
a living organism in detail the more fully does what 
we discover fit in with this hypothesis. One might 
mention, e.g., the various small and apparently un- 
important glands in the human body whose secretions 
are found to exercise a profound influence over its 
growth and well-being. Or again we might mention 
the production in the blood of antitoxins when the body 
is attacked by organisms likely to injure it. I will call 
this kind of teleology " internal teleology ". Whatever 
be the right explanation of it, it is plainly a fact. 



84 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

We have now to consider the relation between 
Teleology and Design. (i) The definition of "tele- 
ology " involves a hypothetical reference to design. 
The system is teleological provided it acts as if it were 
designed for a purpose. But it does not involve anything 
more than this. It remains a question of fact whether 
the system was actually the result of a design in some- 
one's mind, (ii) So far as we know, the teleology of 
non-living machines is always due to design. They 
behave in the characteristic way in which they do 
behave simply because their parts are constructed and 
fitted together in certain special ways, and we have no 
reason to suppose that this special arrangement could 
arise spontaneously without the intervention of a mind 
which deliberately chose it. (iii) The real paradox 
,1 \ about organisms is that they are teleological systems 
"^^^^ik '^fe^ which seem nevertheless to arise without design. It is 
this last fact which we must now discuss. 

Many organisms have minds connected with them. 
But we know that, if they were designed at all, the mind 
which designed them was certainly not the mind which 
animates them, unless this be extraordinarily different 
from what it appears to be both to itself and to others. 
The highest type of mind which we are acquainted with 
is that which animates a human body. If we designed 
our own organisms we are quite unaware of the fact. 
And the enterprise seems altogether beyond our powers. 
The most skilled physiologist does not know how to 
make a living body ; but, if we say that his mind 
designed his own organism, we must suppose that it 
performed as an embryo a feat which it is totally in- 
capable of performing in its developed state. We must 
say then that, if organisms are designed by minds, 
either {a) the designing mind is altogether different 
from and enormously wiser and more skilful than the 
animating mind ; or {b) that the animating mind, as 
known to itself by introspection and to others by com- 
munication, is the merest fragment of the total animating 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 85 

mind, and that the part of it which does not appear to 
itself or to others is of superhuman wisdom and in- 
genuity. Of course it might be held that the designing 
mind, or the designing part of the animating mind, 
though extraordinarily clever at its own particular job, 
takes no interest in anything else ; or that it works 
in a wholly different way from the minds which are 
known to us. But this will not help us. If the con- 
ception of design is to provide any explanation of the 
peculiarities of organisms we must mean by *' design" i 
something of the same nature as the only designs that 
we know anything about, viz., our own. Otherwise we 
are merely playing with words. Now we have designs t 
only when we imagine a possible state of affairs, apply ; 
Our knowledge of the properties and laws of matter to ) 
discover how it might be brought about, and then use ] 
our technical skill to shape the material and to arrange 
it in those ways which we have seen to be necessary for \ 
our purpose. If the minds which design organisms act 
in this way they must have a superhuman knowledge 
of the laws and properties of matter, superhuman mathe- 
matical ability to work out the consequences of various 
possible combinations, and superhuman technical skill ; 
and all analogy makes it most unlikely that a mind 
which took no interest in anything but the one job of 
manufacturing organisms would have these powers. If, 
on the other hand, the minds which design organisms 
act in some quite different and to us unknown way, 
then we have no right to call them " minds " or to call 
their mode of operation "design". We are merely 
assuming a wholly mysterious cause for the teleology 
of organisms, and tricking ourselves into the belief that 
it is an explanation by using the familiar words "mind" 
and "design". I conclude then that, if organisms be 
the result of design in any intelligible sense, their 
designers may fairly be called "gods"; and either we 
are gods in disguise or there are superhuman beings 
who make organisms. 



86 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

These considerations remove one positive argument 
in favour of the theory of entelechies. I am sure that 
many people who look with a friendly eye on entelechies 
do so because of the teleological nature of organisms. 
They think of entelechies as little minds which design 
organisms and direct and control their growth and 
reactions. But they modestly regard entelechies as very 
inferior minds or as the inferior parts of the minds 
which animate organisms. Now, if I am right, this 
modesty is wholly out of place. If the hypothesis of an 
entelechy is to explain anything, we miist suppose that 
an entelechy is a very superior mind or the very superior 
part of the mind which animates an organism. The 
theory insinuates itself into our confidence by pretend- 
ing that the entelechy is so lowly a mind as scarcely to 
deserve the name ; but it can explain the facts only if it 
supposes the entelechy to be so exalted a mind as to 
deserve the name of a " god ". 

I pass now to the relations between Teleology and 
Design, on the one hand, and Biological Mechanism, 
on the other. It is evident that, up to a point, there 
is no opposition between teleology and mechanism. 
Nothing can be more thoroughly teleological than a 
watch or a motor-car ; yet these are machines, and their 
characteristic behaviour is wholly deducible from the 
special arrangement of their parts and from the general 
laws which these parts would equally obey in isolation 
or in other and non-teleological complexes. We may 
say then that, so long as we take a material system as a 
going concern and do not raise questions about its 
origin, there is no reason whatever why its character- 
istic behaviour should not be at once teleological and 
capable of complete mechanistic explanation. Now the 
mechanistic biologist regards organisms as very com- 
plex machines ; and indeed if we were not very familiar 
with artificial self-acting and self-regulating machinery 
it would never have entered our heads to suggest a 
mechanistic theory of vital behaviour. So long as he 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 87 

confines his attention to a developed organism there is 
nothing preposterous in this theory. It is only when 
we consider the origin of teleological systems that a 
legitimate doubt arises whether teleology and mechan- 
istic explanation are ultimately consistent with each 
other. 

(i) Every system which is certainly known to be at 
once teleological and mechanistic is an artificial machine ; 
and, if we follow its history far enough backwards, we 
always come to one or more organisms^ which are 
teleological but not certainly mechanistic systems. It 
is true that many machines are themselves made by 
machines ; but sooner or later in this chain we come to 
human bodies which made these machines and were not 
themselves made by machinery. Thus, apart altogether 
from any question of minds and their designs, there is | 
something dangerously like a vicious circle in professing 
to explain the teleology of organisms by analogy with 
artificial machines. For, the moment we begin to con- 
sider the origin of organisms in general or of any 
particular organism, we have to admit that all artificial 
machines were ultimately made by organisms whilst no \ 
organism is ever made by an artificial machine. 

To this objection I think that the following answer 
might be made. It might be said: "Admittedly we 
must distinguish two kinds of machines, viz., natural 
and artificial. We can quite well admit the general 
principle that all machines are made by other machines. 
Natural machines (z>., organisms) are always made by 
other natural machines ; artificial machines may be 
made proximately by other artificial machines, but in 
the long run in the history of any artificial machine we 
come to a natural machine. We admit then that natural 
machines are causally prior to artificial machines ; but 
this involves no logical circle. We first derive the 
general notion of machinery and of a mechanistic ex- 
planation of teleological behaviour from the specially 
simple and obvious case of artificial machines, at a time 



88 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

when we do not suspect that our bodies are themselves 
natural machines. Eventually we apply the notion thus 
derived to our bodies, and find that it fits them perfectly. 
There is no inconsistency between the facts {a) that the 
recognition of artificial machines is psychologically 
prior to the recognition of natural machines, and {b) 
that the existence of natural machines is causally prior 
to the existence of artificial machines ". I think that 
this is a valid answer to the particular logical objection 
raised above. But it does not exhaust the difficulties 
of Biological Mechanism ; and this brings us to our 
next point. 

(ii) It is true, but it is not the whole truth, to say 
that in the history of every system which is positively 
known to be both teleological and mechanistic (z>., of 
every artificial machine) we come at length to an 
organism. We also come to the mind which animates 
this organism ; to a design in this mind ; and to the 
deliberate arrangement of matter in view of an end. 
And this seems to be essential for the production of a 
teleological system out of non-teleological materials. 
On a mechanistic theory the teleological behaviour of a 
system must be due wholly to the initial configuration 
of its parts ; and, if matter has only the properties which 
physicists and chemists ascribe to it, it has no tendency 
by itself to fall into those extraordinarily special arrange- 
ments which alone can give rise to teleological be- 
haviour. Now, if the analogy of organisms to artificial 
machines is to be used at all, it must be used fairly ; we 
must not ignore one essential part of the facts about the 
origin of artificial machines. Let us then apply the 
whole analogy to organisms. It is certain that, when 
one organism produces another by ordinary processes 
of generation, the mind of the first does not design and 
construct the second, as it would if it were producing 
an artificial machine like a watch or a type-writer. This 
in itself need cause no trouble to the Mechanist. When 
one artificial machine produces another the mind of the 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 89 

first does not design the second, for artificial machines 
have no minds. The Biological Mechanist will there- 
fore simply say that the generation of one organism by 
another is analogous to the production of one artificial 
machine by another. But, as we have seen, the latter 
series eventually brings us back to a mind with designs. 
Hence, if the Biological Mechanist is to apply his 
analogy fairly, there are only two courses open to him. 
The first is to say that there always have been organisms, (jy 
and that organisms have never arisen from inorganic 
matter. On this alternative he has a series of natural 
machines going back to infinity. In that case of course 
every artificial machine will also have an infinite 
ancestry of other machines, since the production of an 
artificial machine eventually brings one back to a 
natural machine. Such a theory would be self-con- 
sistent ; though it would still leave the awkward 
difference that design enters into the history of every 
artificial machine and of no natural machine. It is of 
course an alternative that most mechanists would be 
very loath to take ; for one of the advantages claimed 
for Biological Mechanism over Substantial Vitalism is 
that the former does and the latter does not render 
the development of living from non-living matter 
conceivable. 

The other possible alternative is to admit that organ- 
isms arose in the remote past out of non-living matter. \^ 
This means, on the mechanistic view, that natural 
machines arose from matter which was not arranged in 
the form of a machine. And this can be consistently 
held only if the Biological Mechanist will postulate at 
that point the intervention of a mind which deliberately 
designed and arranged non-living matter in the form 
of a natural machine. For, as we have seen, the only 
systems which we positively know to be machines have 
all arisen in this way ; and, if matter has no properties 
except ithose which chemists and physicists assign to 
it, there is not the least reason to suppose that it can 



/ 



90 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

spontaneously fall into the extremely special configura- 
tion which is needed if the resulting system is to behave 
teleologically. Thus the proper complement to a com- 
pletely mechanistic theory about organisms is some 
form of the doctrine of Deism ; a result which accords 
very well with that simple piety which is so character- 
istic of Biological Mechanists. 

But, even if we are willing to go thus far with the 
Biological Mechanist, we cannot allow him to leave 
the matter there. Every system which is positively 
known to be a machine has been ultimately made, not 
by a pure spirit, but by a mind which animates an 
organism which it did not design or construct. This mind 
formed a design ; in consequence of this the organism 
which it animates has moved in various ways ; and it is 
thus and thus only that the design has been realised in 
foreign matter. Once more, if we are to use the analogy 
of machines at all, we must use it fairly and not ignore 
these parts of it which, so far as we can see, are 
essential but which are not convenient. The Biological 

/ Mechanist, having been brought willingly or unwillingly 
to Deism, must now take a further step and ascribe to 

/ God an organism which God's mind animates. And by 
all analogy we must suppose that God did not design 
or construct his own organism; since, so far as our 
experience goes no mind designs or constructs the 
organism which it animates. Thus, in the end, we 
shall be brought to one organism at least, viz., God's, 
which presumably has not arisen out of non-living 
matter either spontaneously or by design. This seems 
to be the final result of seriously and fairly applying 
the analogy between organisms and machines, when 
we cease to confine our attention to the organism as a 
going concern and try to account also for the origin of 
organisms, as Biological Mechanism would wish to do. 

Tentative Decision between the Three Theories 
of Organisms. When we consider the ^teleologicai. 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 91 



characteristics of organisms the three possible theories 
of Substantial Vitalism, Emergent Vitalism, and Bio- 
logical Mechanism cease to be on a level. In the first 
place, there seems to be nothing to be said for Sub- 
stantial Vitalism, and a great deal to be said against it. 
We may therefore provisionally reject it, and confine 
our attention to Emergent Vitalism and Biological 
Mechanism. It seems to me that, so long as we merely 
consider the behaviour of the organism as a going 
concern, there is no strong argument for deciding 
between the two types of theory. For it is quite certain 
that a material system, once it is in being, can be teleo- 
logical and at the same time mechanistic in its behaviour. 
Hence, even if we did not see our way to explain certain 
teleological characteristics of developed organisms 
mechanistically, the Biological Mechanist could always 
answer that this is merely because we do not yet know 
enough about the minute structure of the machine or 
about the more obscure physico-chemical properties of 
non-living matter. And this is what he is continually 
occupied in saying. But, when we come to consider 
the origin of organisms as well as their behaviour, the 
case is altered. We find that Biological Mechanism 
about the developed organism cannot consistently be 
held without an elaborate Deistic theory about the ] 
origin of organisms. This is because Biological i 
Mechanism is admittedly a theory of the organism \ 
based on its analogy to self-acting and self- regulating / 
machines. These, so far as we can see, neither do ; 
arise nor could have arisen without design and deliberate 
interference by someone with matter. And, in applying 
our analogy, we have no right whatever to ignore this 
side of it. I do not of course assert that this is a 
conclusive objection to Biological Mechanism. Deism ' 
has always seemed to me a much more sensible theory 
than most of its more pretentious successors. But I do 
wish to make it quite clear that Biological Mechanism 
is committed logically to a great deal more than is 






\ 



\ 



92 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

commonly supposed. If Emergent Vitalism could dis- 
pense with the need for all this Deistic supplementa- 
tion it would /;'(? tan^o score over Biological Mechanism. 
But can it? 

It might well be thought that in this matter Emergent 
Vitalism is no better off than Biological Mechanism. 
On both theories the peculiar behaviour of an organism 
is completely determined by its structure and its com- 
ponents and by nothing else. The only difference is 
that on the Emergent View the peculiar behaviour 
of such systems must be "seen to be believed ", whilst 
on the Mechanistic View it could in theory have been 
foretold from the structure and the behaviour of the 
components in isolation or in non-living wholes. If you 
make it an objection to the Mechanistic Theory that the 
characteristic behaviour of the organism depends on 
the arrangement of its parts, and that this arrangement 
could only have happened by design, does not the objec- 
tion apply equally strongly to the Emergent Theory ? 
This argument is plausible, but I do not think that 
it is sound. The Biological Mechanist points to the 
analogy between organisms and artificial machines, and 
asks us to believe on this ground that organisms are 
machines. To this we answered that matter has no 
natural tendency to arrange itself in the form of 
inachi7ies {i.e., of teleological systems whose character- 
istic behaviour is mechanistically explicable) ; and that 
therefore, if organisms be of the nature of machines, 
there is no reason to suppose that they could have 
arisen spontaneously and without design. But it is 
perfectly consistent for a man to hold that matter has 
no tendency to fall spontaneously into the form of 
machines and that it has a natural tendency to fall into 
the form oi organisms ; provided he holds, as the Emer- 
gent Vitalist does, that organisms are not machines 
but are systems whose characteristic behaviour is emer- 
gent and not mechanistically explicable. Thus the real 
difference is that a possibility is open to the Emergent 



MECHANISM AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 93 

Vitalist, who recognises two fundamentally different 
kinds of teleological system, and that this possibility 
is closed to the Biological Mechanist, who recognises 
only one kind. 

Of course this possibility, which is open to the 
Emergent Vitalist and not to the Biological Mechanist, 
is very vague and needs to be worked out in much 
greater detail. This would be the task of the empirical 
scientist rather than the critical philosopher. I will 
content myself with saying that the Emergent Vitalist 
should not rest with nothing better than the vague 
statement that matter has a natural tendency to fall 
into that kind of structure which has vital behaviour 
as its emergent characteristic. If Emergence be true ^ 
at all there are probably many Orders below the *^ 
Vital Order. What must be assumed is not a special 
tendency of matter to fall into the kind of arrangement 
which has vital characteristics, but a general tendency 
for complexes of one order to combine with each other 
under suitable conditions to form complexes of the 
next order. At each stage in this process we shall 
get things with new and irreducibly characteristic 
properties and new intra-ordinal laws, whilst there 
will probably remain certain complexes of all the 
lower orders. The universe would thus grow continu- 
ally more varied, so long as the special conditions 
necessary for this combination of complexes of lower 
order to give complexes of higher order continued ; and at 
every new stage new possibilities of further development 
would begin. It would be the business of the believer 
in Emergence to determine the precise condition under 
which the passage from one order to the next can 
take place ; to state definitely what are the irreducibly 
characteristic features of each order ; and to deduce 
those characteristic features which can be deduced. 

It seems to me then that on the whole Emergent a_ 
Vitalism is distinctly to be preferred to Biological 
Mechanism. It does not necessitate a complicated 



94 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

Deistic supplement, as Biological Mechanism does ; 
and this seems to me to be an advantage. At the 
same time it is perfectly consistent with the view that 
there is a God who created and controls the material 
world ; so that, if there should be any good reason to 
believe in such a Being, the Emergent Vitalist could 
meet the situation with a quiet mind. 



CHAPTER III 

The Traditional Problem of Body and Mind 

In the last Chapter we considered organisms simply as 
complicated material systems which behave in certain 
characteristic ways. We did not consider the fact that 
some organisms are animated by minds, and that all 
the minds of whose existence we are certain animate 
organisms. And we did not deal with those features 
in the behaviour of certain organisms which are com- 
monly supposed to be due to the mind which animates 
the organism. It is such facts as these, and certain 
problems to which they have given rise, which I mean 
to discuss in the present Chapter. There is a question 
which has been argued about for some centuries now 
under the name of "Interaction"; this is the question 
whether minds really do act on the organisms which 
they animate, and whether organisms really do act on 
the minds which animate them. (I must point out at 
once that I imply no particular theory of mind or body 
by the word "to animate". I use it as a perfectly 
neutral name to express the fact that a certain mind 
is connected in some peculiarly intimate way with a 
certain body, and, under normal conditions with no 
other body. This is a fact even on a purely behaviour- 
istic theory of mind ; on such a view to say that the 
mind M animates the body B would mean that the 
body B, in so far as it behaves in certain ways, is the 
mind M. A body which did not act in these ways 
would be said not to be animated by a mind. And a 
different Body B', which acted in the same general 
way as B, would be said to be animated by a different 
mind M'.) 

95 



96 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

The problem of Interaction is generally discussed at 
the level of enlightened common-sense ; where it is 
assumed that we know pretty well what we mean by 
'*mind", by "matter" and by ''causation". Obvi- 
ously no solution which is reached at that level can 
claim to be ultimate. If what we call " matter" should 
turn out to be a collection of spirits of low intelligence, 
as Leibniz thought, the argument that mind and body 
are so unlike that their interaction is impossible would 
become irrelevant. Again, if causation be nothing but 
regular sequence and concomitance, as some philoso- 
phers have held, it is ridiculous to regard psycho- 
neural parallelism and interaction as mutually exclusive 
alternatives. For interaction will mean no more than 
parallelism, and parallelism will mean no less than 
interaction. Nevertheless I am going to discuss the 
arguments here at the common-sense level, because 
they are so incredibly bad and yet have imposed upon 
so many learned men. 

We start then by assuming a developed mind and a 
developed organism as two distinct things, and by 
admitting that the two are now intimately connected 
in some way or other which I express by saying that 
" this mind animates this organism ". We assume that 
bodies are very much as enlightened common-sense 
believes them to be ; and that, even if we cannot define 
" causation ", we have some means of recognising when 
it is present and when it is absent. The question then is : 
" Does a mind ever act on the body which it animates, 
and does a body ever act on the mind which animates 
it?" The answer which common-sense would give to 
both questions is: "Yes, certainly." On the face of 
it my body acts on my mind whenever a pin is stuck 
into the former and a painful sensation thereupon arises 
in the latter. And, on the face of it, my mind acts on 
my body whenever a desire to move my arm arises in 
the former and is followed by this movement in the 
latter. Let us call this common-sense view "Two- 



BODY AND MIND 97 

sided Interaction". Although it seems so obvious it 
has been denied by probably a majority of philosophers 
and a majority of physiologists. So the question is : 
"Why should so many distinguished men, who have 
studied the subject, have denied the apparently obvious 
fact of Two-sided Interaction ? " 

The arguments against Two-sided Interaction fall 
into two sets : — Philosophical and Scientific. We will 
take the philosophical arguments first ; for we shall 
find that the professedly scientific arguments come 
back in the end to the principles or prejudices which 
are made explicit in the philosophical arguments. 

Philosophical Arguments against Two-sided. Inter- 
action. No one can deny that there is a close correla- 
tion between certain bodily events and certain mental 
events, and conversely. Therefore anyone who denies 
that there is action of mind on body and of body 
on mind must presumably hold {a) that concomitant 
variation is not an adequate criterion of causal con- 
nexion, and {b) that the other feature which is essential 
for causal connexion is absent in the case of body and 
mind. Now the common philosophical argument is 
that minds and mental states are so extremely unlike 
bodies and bodily states that it is inconceivable that 
the two should be causally connected. It is certainly 
fiMie that, if minds and mental events are just what they 
seem to be to introspection and nothing more, and if 
bodies and bodily events are just what enlightened 
common-sense thinks them to be and nothing more, 
the two are extremely unlike. And this fact is supposed 
to show that, however closely correlated certain pairs 
of events in mind and body respectively may be, they 
cannot be causally connected. 

Evidently the assumption at the back of this argument 
is that concomitant variation, together with a high 
enough degree of likeness, is an adequate test for causa- 
tion ; but that no amount of concomitant variation can 



/ 



i ^ 



4 



98 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

establish causation in the absence of a high enough 
degree of likeness. Now I am inclined to admit part of 
this assumption. I think it is practically certain that 
causationdoes not s'lmiplj mean concomitant variation. 
(And, if it did, cadz'i qucEstio.^ Hence the existence of 
the latter is not ipso facto a proof of the presence of the 
former. Again, I think it is almost certain that con- 
comitant variation between A and B is not in fact a 
sufficient sign of the presence of a direct causal relation 
between the two. (I think it may perhaps be a sufficient 
sigfn of either a direct causal relation between A and B 
or of several causal relations which indirectly unite A 
and B through the medium of other terms C, D, etc.) 
So far I agree with the assumptions of the argument. 
But I cannot see the least reason to think that the other 
characteristic, which must be added to concomitant 
variation before we can be sure that A and B are 
causally connected, is a high degree of likeness between 
the two. One would like to know just how unlike two 
events may be before it becomes impossible to admit 
the existence of a causal relation between them. No 
one hestitates to hold that draughts and colds in the 
head are causally connected, although the two are 
extremely unlike each other. If the unlikeness of 
draughts and colds in the head does not prevent one 
from admitting a causal connexion between the two, why 
should the unlikeness of volitions and voluntary move- 
ments prevent one from holding that they are causally 
connected? To sum up. I am willing to admit that 
an adequate criterion of causal connexion needs some 
other relation between a pair of events beside con- 
comitant variation ; but I do not believe for a moment 
that this other relation is that of qualitative likeness. 

This brings us to a rather more refined form of the 
argument against Interaction. It is said that, whenever 
we admit the existence of a causal relation between two 
events, these two events (to put it crudely) must also 
form parts of a single substantial whole. E.g.^ all 



BODY AND MIND 99 

physical events are spatially related and form one great 
extended whole. And the mental events which would 
commonly be admitted to be causally connected are 
always events in a single mind. A mind is a substantial 
whole of a peculiar kind too. Now it is said that 
between bodily events and mental events there are no 
relations such as those which unite physical events in 
different parts of the same Space or mental events in 
the history of the same mind. In the absence of such 
relations, binding mind and body into a single sub- 
stantial whole, we cannot admit that bodily and mental 
events can be causally connected with each other, no 
matter how closely correlated their variations may be. 

This is a much better argument than the argument 
about qualitative likeness and unlikeness. If we accept 
the premise that causal relations can subsist only between 
terms which form parts of a single substantial whole 
must we deny that mental and bodily events can be 
causally connected? I do not think that we need, 
(i) It is of course perfectly true that an organism and 
the mind which animates it do not form a physical 
whole, and that they do not form a mental whole ; and 
these, no doubt, are the two kinds of substantial whole 
with which we are most familiar. But it does not follow 
that a mind and its organism do not form a substantial 
whole oi some kind. There, plainly, is the extraordinary 
intimate union between the two which I have called 
''animation " of the one by the other. Even if the mind 
be just what it seems to introspection, and the body be 
just what it seems to perception aided by the more 
precise methods of science, this seems to me to be 
enough to make a mind and its body a substantial 
whole. Even so extreme a dualist about Mind and 
Matter as Descartes occasionally suggests that a mind 
and its body together form a quasi-substance ; and, 
although we may quarrel with the language of the very 
numerous philosophers who have said that the mind is 
"the form" of its body, we must admit that such 



100 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

language would never have seemed plausible unless a 
mind and its body together had formed something very- 
much like a single substantial whole. 

(ii) We must, moreover, admit the possibility that 
minds and mental events have properties and relations 
which do not reveal themselves to introspection, and 
that bodies and bodily events may have properties and 
relations which do not reveal themselves to perception 
or to physical and chemical experiment. In virtue of 
these properties and relations the two together may well 
form a single substantial whole of the kind which is 
alleged to be needed for causal interaction. Thus, if we 
accept the premise of the argument, we have no right to 
assert that mind and body cannot interact ; but only the 
much more modest proposition that introspection and 
perception do not suffice to assure us that mind and 
body are so interrelated that they can interact. 

(iii) We must further remember that the Two-sided 
Interactionist is under no obligation to hold that the 
complete conditions of any mental event are bodily or 
that the complete conditions of any bodily event are 
mental. He needs only to assert that some mental 
events include certain bodily events among their 
necessary conditions, and that some bodily events 
include certain mental events among their necessary 
conditions. If I am paralysed my volition may not 
move my arm ; and, if I am hypnotised or intensely 
interested or frightened, a wound may not produce a 
painful sensation. Now, if the complete cause and the 
complete effect in all interaction include both a bodily 
and a mental factor, the two wholes will be related by 
the fact that the mental constituents belong to a single 
mind, that the bodily constituents belong to a single 
body, and that this mind animates this body. This 
amount of connexion should surely be enough to allow 
of causal interaction. 

This will be the most appropriate place to deal with 
the contention that, in voluntary action, and there only, 



BODY AND MIND loi 

we are immediately acquainted with an instance of 
causal connexion. If this be true the controversy is of 
course setFle^ at once in favour of the Interactionist. It 
is generally supposed that this view was refuted once 
and for all by Mr Hume in his Enquiry concerning Human 
Understandifig {Sect. VII, Part I). I should not care to 
assert that the doctrine in question is true ; but I do 
think that it is plausible, and I am quite sure that Mr 
Hume's arguments do not refute it. Mr Hume uses 
three closely connected arguments, (i) The connexion 
between a successful volition and the resulting bodily 
movement is as mysterious and as little self-evident as 
the connexion between any other event and its effect. 
(2) We have to learn from experience which of our 
volitions will be effective and which will not. E.g., we 
do not know, until we have tried, that we can voluntarily 
move our arms and cannot voluntarily move our livers. 
And again, if a man were suddenly paralysed, he would 
still expect to be able to move his arm voluntarily, and 
would be surprised when he found that it kept still in 
spite of his volition. (3) We have discovered that the 
immediate consequence of a volition is a change in our 
nerves and muscles, which most people know nothing 
about ; and is not the movement of a limb, which 
most people believe to be its immediate and necessary 
consequence. 

The second and third arguments are valid only 
against the contention that we know immediately that a 
volition to make a certain movement is the sufficient 
condition for the happening of that movement. They 
are quite irrelevant to the contention that we know 
immediately that the volition is a necessary condition for 
the happening of just that movement at just that time. 
No doubt many other conditions are also necessary, e.g., 
that our nerves and muscles shall be in the right state ; 
and these other necessary conditions can be discovered 
only by special investigation. Since our volitions to 
move our limbs are in fact followed in the vast majority 



102 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

of cases by the willed movement, and since the other 
necessary conditions are not very obvious, it is natural 
enough that we should think that we know immediately 
that our volition is the sufficient condition of the move- 
ment of our limbs. If we think so, we are certainly 
wrong ; and Mr Hume's arguments prove that we are. 
But they prove nothing else. It does not follow that 
we are wrong in thinking that we know, without having 
to wait for the result, that the volition is a necessary 
condition of the movement. 

It remains to consider the first argument. Is the 
connexion between cause and effect as mysterious and 
as little self-evident in the case of the voluntary pro- 
duction of bodily movement as in all other cases? If 
so, we must hold that the first time a baby wills to 
move its hand it is just as much surprised to find its 
hand moving as it would be to find its leg moving or 
its nurse bursting into flames. I do not profess to 
know anything about the infant mind ; but it seems 
to me that this is a wildly paradoxical consequence, 
for which there is no evidence or likelihood. But there 
is no need to leave the matter there. It is perfectly 
plain that, in the case of volition and voluntary move- 
ment, there is a connexion between the cause and the 
effect which is not present in other cases of causation, 
and which does make it plausible to hold that in this 
one case the nature of the effect can be foreseen by 
merely reflecting on the nature of the cause. The 
peculiarity of a volition as a cause-factor is that it in- ■ 
volves as an essential part of it the idea of the effect. 
To say that a person has a volition to move his arm 
involves saying that he has an idea of his arm (and not 
of his leg or his liver) and an idea of the position in 
which he wants his arm to be. It is simply silly in. 
view of this fact to say that there is no closer connexion 
between the desire to move my arm and the movement 
of my arm than there is between this desire and the 
movement of my leg or my liver. We cannot detect 



BODY AND MIND 103 

any analogous connexion between cause and effect in 
causal transactions which we view wholly from outside, 
such as the movement of a billiard-ball by a cue. It is 
therefore by no means unreasonable to suggest that, in | 
the one case of our own voluntary movemente, we can j 
see without waiting for the result that such and such a | 
volition is a necessary condition of such and such a • 
bodily movement. 

It seems to me then that Mr Hume's arguments on 
this point are absolutely irrelevant, and that it may 
very well be true that in volition we positively know 
that our desire for such and such a bodily movement is 
a necessary (though not a sufficient) condition of the 
happening of just that movement at just that time. 
On the whole then I conclude that the philosophical j' 
argumenFs certainly do not disprove Two-sided Inter- '.^ 
action, and that they do not even raise any strong *| 
presumption against it. And, while I am not prepared 
definitely to commit myself to the view that, in voluntary 
movement, we positively know that the mind acts on 
the body, I do think that this opinion is quite plausible 
when properly stated and that the arguments which 
have been brought against it are worthless. I pass 
therefore to the scientific arguments. 

Scientific Arguments against Two-sided Interaction. 

There are, so far as I know, two of these. One is 
supposed to be based on the physical principle of the 
Conservation of Energy, and on certain experiments 
which have been made on human bodies. The other 
is based on the close analogy which is said to exist 
between the structures of the physiological mechanism 
of reflex action and that of voluntary action. I will take 
them in turn. 

(i) The Argument from Energy. It will first be need- f-\^ 
ful to state clearly what is asserted by the principle of "' 
the Conservation of Energy. It is found that, if we 
take certain material systems, e.g.^ a gun, a cartridge. 



•i 



104 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

and a bullet, there is a certain magnitude which keeps 
approximately constant throughout all their changes. 
This is called " Energy ". When the gun has not been 
fired it and the bullet have no motion, but the explosive 
in the cartridge has great chemical energy. When it 
has been fired the bullet is moving very fast and has 
great energy of movement. The gun, though not 
moving fast in its recoil, has also great energy of move- 
ment because it is very massive. The gases produced 
by the explosion have some energy of movement and 
some heat-energy, but much less chemical energy than 
the unexploded charge had. These various kinds of 
energy can be measured in common units according to 
certain conventions. To an innocent mind there seems 
to be a good deal of "cooking" at this stage, i.e.^ the 
conventions seem to be chosen and various kinds and 
amounts of concealed energy seem to be postulated in 
order to make the principle come out right at the end. 
I do not propose to go into this in detail, for two 
reasons. In the first place, I think that the conventions 
adopted and the postulates made, though somewhat 
suggestive of the fraudulent company-promoter, can be 
justified by their coherence with certain experimental 
facts, and that they are not simply xm.^&adhoc. Secondly, 
I shall show that the Conservation of Energy is 
absolutely irrelevant to the question at issue, so that it 
would be waste of time to treat it too seriously in the 
present connexion. Now it is found that the total 
energy of all kinds in this system, when measured 
according to these conventions, is approximately the 
same in amount though very differently distributed after 
the explosion and before it. If we had confined our 
attention to a part of this system and zVj-^energy this 
would not have been true. The bullet, e.g.^ had no 
energy at all before the explosion and a great deal after- 
wards. A system like the bullet, the gun, and the 
charge, is called a "Conservative System" ; the bullet 
alone, or the gun and the charge, would be called 



BODY AND MIND 105 

"Non-conservative Systems". A conservative system ,, 
might therefore be defined as one whose total energy is fr* 
redistributed, but not altered in amount, by changes 
that happen within it. Of course a given system might 
be conservative for some kinds of change and not for 
others. 

So far we have merely defined a *' Conservative 
System ", and admitted that there are systems which, 
for some kinds of change at any rate, answer approxi- 
mately to our definition. We can now state the 
Principle of the Conservation of Energy in terms of 
the conceptions just defined. The principle asserts 
that every material system is either itself conservative, ^■: 
or, if not, is part of a larger material system which is jl 
conservative. We may take it that there is good 
inductive evidence for this proposition. 

The next thing to consider is the experiments on the 
human body. These tend to prove that a living body, 
with the air that it breathes and the food that it eats, 
forms a conservative system to a high degree of approxi- 
mation. We can measure the chemical energy of the 
food given to a man, and that which enters his body 
in the form of Oxygen breathed in. We can also, 
with suitable apparatus, collect, measure and analyse 
the air breathed out, and thus find its chemical energy. 
Similarly, we can find the energy given out in bodily 
movement, in heat, and in excretion. It is alleged 
that, on the average, whatever the man may do, the 
energy of his bodily movements is exactly accounted 
for by the energy given to him in the form of food 
and of Oxygen. If you take the energy put in in food 
and Oxygen, and subtract the energy given out in 
waste-products, the balance is almost exactly equal to 
the energy put out in bodily movements. Such slight 
differences as are found are as often on one side as on 
the other, and are therefore probably due to unavoid- 
able experimental errors. I do not propose to criticise 
the interpretation of these experiments in detail, be- 



t 



it 



io6 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

cause, as I shall show soon, they are completely 
irrelevant to the problem of whether mind and body 
interact. But there is just one point that I will make 
before passing on. It is perfectly clear that such 
experiments can tell us only what happens on the 
average over a long time. To know whether the 
balance was accurately kept at every moment we 
should have to kill the patient at each moment and 
analyse his body so as to find out the energy present 
•then in the form of stored-up products. Obviously 
we cannot keep on killing the patient in order to 
analyse him, and then reviving him in order to go 
on with the experiment. Thus it would seem that the 
results of the experiment are perfectly compatible with 
the presence of quite large excesses or defects in the 
total bodily energy at certain moments, provided that 
these average out over longer periods. However, I do 
not want to press this criticism ; I am quite ready to 
accept for our present purpose the traditional inter- 
pretation which has been put on the experiments. 

We now understand the physical principle and the 
experimental facts. The two together are generally 
supposed to prove that mind and body cannot interact. 
What precisely is the argument, and is it valid? 
I imagine that the argument, when fully stated, would 
run somewhat as follows: "I will to move my arm, 
and it moves. If the volition has anything to do 
with causing the movement we might expect energy 
to flow from my mind to my body. Thus the energy 
of my body ought to receive a measurable increase, 
not accounted for by the food that I eat and the 
Oxygen that I breathe. But no such physically un- 
accountable increases of bodily energy are found. 
Again, I tread on a tin-tack, and a painful sensation 
arises in my mind. If treading on the tack has any- 
thing to do with causing the sensation we might expect 
energy to flow from my body to my mind. Such energy 
would cease to be measurable. Thus there ought to 



BODY AND MIND 107 

be a noticeable decrease in my bodily energy, not 
balanced by increases anywhere in the physical system. 
But such unbalanced decreases of bodily energy are 
not found." So it is concluded that the volition has 
nothing to do with causing my arm to move, and that 
treading on the tack has nothing to do with causing 
the painful sensation. 

Is this argument valid? In the first place it is 
important to notice that the conclusion does not follow 
from the Conservation of Energy and the experimental 
facts alone. The real premise is a tacitly assumed 
proposition about causation ; viz., that, if a change in A 
has anything to do with causing a change in B, energy 
must leave A and flow into B. This is neither asserted 
nor entailed by the Conservation of Energy. What it 
says is that, if energy leaves A, it must appear in 
something else, say B ; so that A and B together 
form a conservative system. Since the Conservation 
of Energy is not itself the premise for the argument 
against Interaction, and since it does not entail that 
premise, the evidence for the Conservation of Energy 
is not evidence against Interaction. Is there any in- 
dependent evidence for the premise? We may admit 
that it is true of many, though not of all, transactions 
within the physical realm. But there are cases where 
it is not true even of purely physical transactions ; 
and, even if it were always true in the physical realm, 
it would not follow that it must also be true of trans- 
physical causation. Take the case of a weight swinging 
at the end of a string hung from a fixed point. The 
total energy of the weight is the same at all positions 
in its course. It is thus a conservative system. But 
at every moment the direction and velocity of the 
weight's motion are different, and the proportion be- 
tween its kinetic and its potential energy is constantly 
changing. These changes are caused by the pull of 
the string, which acts in a different direction at each 
different moment. The string makes no difference to 



i]a^ 



io8 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

the total energy of the weight ; but it makes all the 
difference in the world to the particular way in which 
the weight moves and the particular way in which the 
energy is distributed between the potential and the 
kinetic forms. This is evident when we remember that 
the weight would begin to move in an utterly different 
course if at any moment the string were cut. 

Here, then, we have a clear case even in the physical 
realm where a system is conservative but is continually 
acted on by something which affects its movement and 
the distribution of its total energy. Why should not 
the mind act on the body in this way? If you say that 
you can see how a string can affect the movement of 
a weight, but cannot see how a volition could affect the 
movement of a material particle, you have deserted the 
scientific argument and have gone back to one of the 
philosophical arguments. Your real difficulty is either 
that volitions are so very unlike movements, or that 
the volition is in your mind whilst the movement be- 
longs to the physical realm. And we have seen how 
little weight can be attached to these objections. 

The fact is that, even in purely physical systems, the 
Conservation of Energy does not explain what changes 
will happen or when they will happen. It merely im- 
poses a very general limiting condition on the changes 
that are possible. The fact that the system composed 
of bullet, charge, and gun, in our earlier example, is 
conservative does not tell us that the gun ever will be 
fired, or when it will be fired if at all, or what will cause 
it to go off, or what forms of energy will appear if and 
when it does go off. The change in this case is deter- 
mined by pulling the trigger. Likewise the mere fact 
that the human body and its neighbourhood form a 
conservative system does not explain any particular 
bodily movement ; it does not explain why I ever move 
at all, or why I sometimes write, sometimes walk, and 
sometimes swim. To explain the happening of these 
particular movements at certain times it seems to be 



BODY AND MIND 109 

essential to take into account the volitions which happen 
from time to time in my mind ; just as it is essential 
to take the string into account to explain the particular 
behaviour of the weight, and to take the trigger into 
account to explain the going off of the gun at a certain 
moment. The difference between the gun-system and 
the body-system is that a little energy does flow into 
the former when the trigger is pulled, whilst it is 
alleged that none does so when a volition starts a 
bodily movement. But there is not even this amount 
of difference between the body-system and the swinging 
weight. 

Thus the argument from energy has no tendency \^^ 
to disprove Two-sided Interaction. It has gained a 
spurious authority from the august name of the Con- 
servation of Energy. But this impressive principle 
proves to have nothing to do with the case. And the 
real premise of the argument is not self-evident, and is 
not universally true even in purely intra-physical trans- 
actions. In the end this scientific argument has to lean 
on the old philosophic arguments ; and we have seen 
that these are but bruised reeds. Nevertheless, the facts 
brought forward by the argument from energy do throw 
some lighten the nature oi the interaction between mind ,< 
and body, assuming this to happen. They do suggest . 

that all the energy of our bodily actions comes out of *^|i 

and goes back into the physical world, and that minds ; 
neither add-^&nergy to nor abstract it from the latter. ' 
What they do, if they do anything, is to determine \ 
that at a given moment so much energy shall change 
from the chemical form to the form of bodily move- 
ment ; and they determine this, so far as we can see, 
without altering the total amount of energy in the 
physical jworld, 

(2) The Argument from the Structure of the Nervous (W 
System. There are purely reflex actions, like sneezing 
and blinking, in which there is no reason to suppose 
that the mind plays any essential part. Now we know 



no MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

the nervous structure which is used in such acts as 
these. A stimulus is given to the outer end of an 
afferent nerve ; some change or other runs up this 
nerve, crosses a synapsis between this and an afferent 
nerve, travels down the latter to a muscle, causes the 
muscle to contract, and so produces a bodily movement. 
There seems no reason to believe that the mind plays 
any essential part in this process. The process may be 
irreducibly vital, and not merely physico-chemical ; but 
there seems no need to assume anything more than 
this. Now it is said that the whole nervous system is 
simply an immense complication of interconnected 
nervous arcs. The result is that a change which travels 
inwards has an immense number of alternative paths 
by which it may travel outwards. Thus the reaction to 
a given stimulus is no longer one definite movement, 
as in the simple reflex. Almost any movement may 
follow any stimulus according to the path which the 
afferent disturbance happens to take. This path will 
depend on the relative resistance of the various synapses 
at the time. Now a variable response to the same 
stimulus is characteristic of deliberate as opposed to 
reflex action. 

These are the facts. The argument based on them 
runs as follows. It is admitted that the mind has 
nothing to do with the causation of purely reflex 
actions. But the nervous structure and the nervous 
processes involved in deliberate action do not differ in 
kind from those involved in reflex action ; they differ 
only in degree of complexity. The variability which 
characterises deliberate action is fully explained by the 
variety of alternative paths and the variable resistances 
of the synapses. So it is unreasonable to suppose that 
the mind has any more to do with causing deliberate 
actions than it has to do with causing reflex actions. 

I think that this argument is invalid. In the first 
place I am pretty sure that the persons who use it have 
before their imagination a kind of picture of how mind and 



BODY AND MIND iii 

body must interact if they interact at all. They find 
that the facts do not answer to this picture, and so they 
conclude that there is no interaction. The picture is 
of the following kind. They think of the mind as 
sitting somewhere in a hole in the brain, surrounded 
by telephones. And they think of the afferent dis- 
turbance as coming to an end at one of these telephones 
and there affecting the mind. The mind is then sup- 
posed to respond by sexiding an afferent impulse down 
another of these telephones. As no such hole, with 
afferent nerves stopping at its walls and afferent nerves 
starting from them, can be found, they conclude that 
the mind can play no part in the transaction. But 
another alternative is that this picture of how the mind 
must act if it acts at all is wrong. To put it shortly, 
the mistake is to confuse a gap in an explanation with 
a spatio-temporal gap, and to argue from the absence 
of the latter to the absence of the former. 

The Interactionist's contention is simply that there 
is a gap in any purely physiological explanation of 
deliberate action ; i.e., that all such explanations fail 
to account completely for the facts because they leave 
out one necessary condition. It does not follow in the 
least that there must be a spatio-temporal breach of 
continuity in the physiological conditions, and that 
the missing condition must fill this gap in the way in 
which the movement of a wire fills the spatio-temporal 
interval between the pulling of a bell-handle and the 
ringing of a distant bell. To assume this is to make 
the mind a kind of physical object, and to make its 
action a kind of mechanical action. Really, the mind 4, VN-*^^ 
and its actions are not literally in Space at all, and the 
time which is occupied by the mental event is no doubt 
also occupied by some part of the physiological process. 
Thus I am inclined to think that much of the force 
which this argument actually exercises on many people 
is simply due to the presupposition about the modus 
operandi of interaction, and that it is greatly weakened 



112 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

when this presupposition is shown to be a mere pre- 
judice due to our limited power of envisaging un- 
familiar alternative possibilities. 

We can, however, make more detailed objections to 
the argument than this. There is a clear introspective 
difference between the mental accompaniment of volun- 
tary action and that of reflex action. What goes on in 
our minds when we decide with difficulty to get out of 
a hot bath on a cold morning is obviously extremely 
different from what goes on in our minds when we 
sniff pepper and sneeze. And the difference is quali- 
tative ; it is not a mere difference of complexity. This 
difference has to be explained somehow ; and the theory 
under discussion gives no plausible explanation of it. 
The ordinary view that, in the latter case, the mind is 
not acting on the body at all ; whilst, in the former, it is 
acting on the body in a specific way, does at least make 
the introspective difference between the two intelligible. 

Again, whilst it is true that deliberate action differs 
from reflex action in its greater variability of response 
to the same stimulus, this is certainly not the whole or 
the most important part of the difference between them. 
The really important difference is that, in deliberate 
action, the response is varied appropriately to meet the 
special circumstances which are supposed to exist at 
the time or are expected to arise later ; whilst reflex 
action is not varied in this way, but is blind and almost 
mechanical. The complexity of the nervous system 
explains the possibility of variation ; it does not in the 
least explain why the alternative which actually takes 
place should as a rule be appropriate and not merely 
haphazard. And so again it seems as if some factor 
were in operation in deliberate action which is not 
present in reflex action ; and it is reasonable to suppose 
that this factor is the volition in the mind. 

It seems to me that this second scientific argument 
has no tendency to disprove interaction ; but that the 
facts which it brings forward do tend to suggest the 



BODY AND MIND 113 

particular form which interaction probably takes if it 
happens at all. They suggest that what the mind does 
t o the body in voluntary action, if it does anything, is 
to lower the resistance of certain synapses and to raise 
that of others. The result is that the nervous current 
follows such a course as to produce the particular 
movement which the mind judges to be appropriate 
at the time. On such a view the difference between 
reflex, habitual, and deliberate actions for the present 
purpose becomes fairly plain. In pure reflexes the 
mind cannot voluntarily affect the resistance of the 
synapses concerned, and so the action takes place in 
spite of it. In habitual action it deliberately refrains 
from interfering with the resistance of the synapses, 
and so the action goes on like a complicated reflex. 
But it can affect these resistances if it wishes, though 
often only with difficulty ; and it is ready to do so if 
it judges this to be expedient. Finally, it may lose 
the power altogether. This would be what happens 
when a person becomes a slave to some habit, such as 
drug-taking. 

I conclude that, at the level of enlightened common- 
sense at which the ordinary discussion of Interaction 
moves, no good reason has been produced for doubting 
that the mind acts on the body in volition, and that the 
body acts on the mind in sensation. The philosophic 
arguments are quite inconclusive ; and the scientific 
arguments, when properly understood, are quite com- 
patible with Two-sided Interaction. At most they 
suggest certain conclusions as to the form which 
interaction probably takes if it happens at all. 

Difficulties in the Denial of Interaction. I propose 
now to consider some of the difficulties which would 
attend the denial of Interaction, still keeping the dis- 
cussion at the same common-sense level. If a man 
denies the action of body on mind he is at once in 
trouble over the causation of new sensations. Suppose 

n 



114 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

that I suddenly tread on an unsuspected tin-tack. A 
new sensation suddenly comes into my mind. This is 
an event, and it presumably has some cause. Now, 
however carefully I introspect and retrospect, I can find 
no other mental event which is adequate to account for 
the fact that just that sensation has arisen at just that 
moment. If I reject the common-sense view that tread- 
ing on the tack is an essential part of the cause of the 
sensation, I must suppose either that it is uncaused, or 
that it is caused by other events in my mind which I 
cannot discover by introspection or retrospection, or 
that it is caused telepathically by other finite minds or 
by God. Now enquiry of my neighbours would show 
that it is not caused telepathically by any event in their 
minds which they can introspect or remember. Thus 
anyone who denies the action of body on mind, and 
admits that sensations have causes, must postulate 
either {a) immense numbers of unobservable states in 
'his own mind; or (d) as many unobservable states in 
his neighbours' minds, together with telepathic action ; 
or {c) some non-human spirit together with telepathic 
action. I must confess that the difficulties which have 
been alleged against the action of body on mind seem 
to be mild compared with those of the alternative 
hypotheses which are involved in the denial of such 
action. 

The difficulties which are involved in the denial of 
the action of mind on body are at first sight equally 
great ; but I do not think that they turn out to be so 
serious as those which are involved in denying the 
action of body on mind. The prima facie difficulty is 
this. The world contains many obviously artificial 
objects, such as books, bridges, clothes, etc. We know 
that, if we go far enough back in the history of their 
production, we always do in fact come on the actions of 
some human body. And the minds connected with 
these bodies did design the objects in question, did will 
to produce them, and did believe that they were initiat- 



BODY AND MIND 115 

ing and guiding the physical process by means of these 
designs and volitions. If it be true that the mind does 
not act on the body, it follows that the designs and 
volitions in the agents' minds did not in fact play any 
part in the production of books, bridges, clothes, etc. 
This appears highly paradoxical. And it is an easy 
step from it to say that anyone who denies the action of 
mind on body must admit that books, bridges, and other 
such objects cou/d have been produced even though 
there had been no minds, no thought of these objects 
and no desire for them. This consequence seems mani- 
festly absurd to common-sense, and it might be argued 
that it reflects its absurdity back on the theory which 
entails it. 

The man who denies that mind can act on body 
might deal with this difficulty in two ways: (i) He 
might deny that the conclusion z's intrinsically absurd. 
He might say that human bodies are extraordinarily 
complex physical objects, which probably obey irre- 
ducible laws of their own, and that we really do not 
know enough about them to set limits to what their 
unaided powers could accomplish. This is the line 
which Spinoza took. The conclusion, it would be 
argued, seems absurd only because the state of affairs 
which it contemplates is so very unfamiliar. We find 
it difficult to imagine a body like ours without a mind 
like ours ; but, if we could get over this defect in our 
powers of imagination, we might have no difficulty in 
admitting that such a body could do all the things 
which our bodies do. I think it must be admitted that 
the difficulty is not so great as that which is involved in 
denying the action of body on mind. There we had to 
postulate ad hoc utterly unfamiliar entities and modes 
of action ; here it is not certain that we should have to 
do this. 

(2) The other line of argument would be to say that 
the alleged consequence does not necessarily follow 
from denying the action of mind on body. I assume 



ii6 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

that both parties admit that causation is something 
more than mere de facto regularity of sequence and 
concomitance. If they do not, of course the whole 
controversy between them becomes futile ; for there will 
certainly be causation between mind and body and be- 
tween body and mind, in the only sense in which there 
is causation anywhere. This being presupposed, the 
following kind of answer is logically possible. When 
I say that B could not have happened unless A had 
happened, there are two alternative possibilities, {a) 
A may itself be an indispensable link in any chain of 
causes which ends up with B. {b) A may not itself be 
a link in any chain of causation which ends up with B. 
But there may be an indispensable link a in any such 
chain of causation, and A may be a necessary accom- 
paniment or sequent of a. These two possibilities may 
be illustrated by diagrams, ia) is represented by the 
figure below : — 

Ao A Ai A^ B 

^ ^ y . y . 

The two forms of {b) are represented by the two figures 
below : — 



A 




Evidently, if B cannot happen unless a precedes, and 
if a cannot happen without A accompanying or im- 
mediately following it, B will not be able to happen 
unless A precedes it. And yet A will have had no part 
in causing B. It will be noticed that, on this view, a 
has a complex effect AA^ of which a certain part, viz., 
A^ is sufficient by itself to produce Ag and ultimately 
B. Let us apply this abstract possibility to our present 



BODY AND MIND 117 

problem. Suppose that B is some artificial object, like 
a book or a bridge. If we admit that this could no^ 
have come into existence unless a certain design and 
volition had existed in a certain mind, we could interpret 
the facts in two ways. {a) We could hold that the 
design and volition are themselves an indispensable 
link in the chain of causation which ends in the pro- 
duction of a bridge or a book. This is the common 
view, and it requires us to admit the action of mind on 
body, {d) We might hold that the design and the 
volition are not themselves a link in the chain of causa- 
tion which ends in the production of the artificial object ; 
but that they are a necessary accompaniment or sequent 
of something which z's an indispensable link in this 
chain of causation. On this view the chain consists 
wholly of physical events ; but one of these physical 
events (viz., some event in the brain) has a complex 
consequent. One part of this consequent is purely 
physical, and leads by purely physical causation to the 
ultimate production of a bridge or a book. The other 
is purely mental, and consists of a certain design and 
volition in the mind which animates the human body 
concerned. If this has any consequences they are 
purely mental. Each part of this complex consequent 
follows with equal necessity ; this particular brain-state 
could no more have existed without such and such a 
mental state accompanying or following it than it could 
have existed without such and such a bodily movement 
following it. If we are willing to take some such view 
as this, we can admit that certain objects could not have 
existed unless there had been designs of them and 
desires for them ; and yet we could consistently deny 
that these desires and designs have any effect on the 
movements of our bodies. 

It seems to me then that the doctrine which I will call 
" One-sided Action of Body on Mind" is logically 
possible ; i.e., a theory which accepts the action of body 
on mind but denies the action of mind on body. But I 



ii8 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

do not see the least reason to accept it, since I see no 
reason to deny that mind acts on body in volition. 
One-sided Action has, I think, generally been held in 
the special form called " Epiphenomenalism." I take 
this doctrine to consist of the following four proposi- 
tions : (i) Certain bodily events cause certain mental 
events. (2) No mental event plays any part in the 
causation of any bodily event. (3) No mental event 
plays any part in the causation of any other mental 
event. Consequently (4) all mental events are caused 
by bodily events and by them only. Thus Epipheno- 
menalism is just One-sided Action of Body on Mind, 
together with a special theory about the nature and 
structure of mind. This special theory does not call for 
discussion here, where I am dealing only with the 
relations between minds and bodies, and am not con- 
cerned with a detailed analysis of mind. In a later 
chapter we shall have to consider the special features of 
Epiphenomenalism. 

Arguments in Favour of Interaction. The only argu- 
ments for One-sided Action of Body on Mind or for 
Parallelism are the arguments against Two-sided Inter- 
action ; and these, as we have seen, are worthless. 
Are there any arguments in favour of Two-sided Inter- 
action ? I have incidentally given two which seem to 
me to have considerable weight. In favour of the action 
of mind on body is the fact that we seem to be im- 
mediately aware of a causal relation when we voluntarily 
try to produce a bodily movement, and that the argu- 
ments to show that this cannot be true are invalid. In 
favour of the action of body on mind are the insuperable 
difficulties which I have pointed out in accounting for 
the happening of new sensations on any other hypothesis. 
\ There are, however, two other arguments which have 
^, often been thought to prove the action of mind on body. 
These are (i) an evolutionary argument, first used, I 
believe, by William James; and (2) the famous "telegram 



BODY AND MIND 119 

argument." They both seem to me to be quite obviously 
invalid. 

(i) The evolutionary argument runs as follows : It is 
a fact, which is admitted by persons who deny Two- 
sided Interaction, that minds increase in complexity 
and power with the growth in complexity of the brain 
and nervous system. Now, if the mind makes no 
difference to the actions of the body, this development 
on the mental side is quite unintelligible from the point 
of view of natural selection. Let us imagine two 
animals whose brains and nervous systems were of the 
same degree of complexity ; and suppose, if possible, 
that one had a mind and the other had none. If the 
mind makes no difference to the behaviour of the body 
the chance of survival and of leaving descendants will 
clearly be the same for the two animals. Therefore 
natural selection will have no tendency to favour the 
evolution of mind which has actually taken place. I 
do not think that there is anything in this argument. 
Natural selection is a purely negative process ; it simply 
tends to eliminate individuals and species which have 
variations unfavourable to survival. Now, by hypothesis, 
the possession of a mind is not unfavourable to survival ; 
it simply makes no difference. Now it may be that the 
existence of a mind of such and such a kind is an 
inevitable consequence of the existence of a brain and 
nervous system of such and such a degree of com- 
plexity. Indeed we have seen that some such view is 
essential if the opponent of Two-sided Interaction is to 
answer the common-sense objection that artificial objects 
could not have existed unless there had been a mind 
which designed and desired them. On this hypothesis 
there is no need to invoke natural selection twice over, 
once to explain the evolution of the brain and nervous 
system, and once to explain the evolution of the mind. 
If natural selection will account for the evolution of the 
brain and nervous system, the evolution of the m.ind 
will follow inevitably, even though it adds nothing to 



120 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

the survival-value of the organism. The plain fact is 
that natural selection does not account for the origin 
or for the growth in complexity of anything whatever ; 
and therefore it is no objection to any particular theory 
of the relations of mind and body that, if it were true, 
natural selection would not explain the origin and 
development of mind. 

(2) The "telegram argument " is as follows : Suppose 
there were two telegrams, one saying "Our son has 
been killed", and the other saying: "Your son has 
been killed ". And suppose that one or other of them 
was delivered to a parent whose son was away from 
home. As physical stimuli they are obviously ex- 
tremely alike, since they differ only in the fact that the 
letter " F" is present in one and absent in the other. 
Yet we know that the reaction of the person who received 
the telegram might be very different according to which 
one he received. This is supposed to show that the 
reactions of the body cannot be wholly accounted for 
by bodily causes, and that the mind must intervene 
causally in some cases. Now I have very little doubt 
that the mind does play a part in determining the action 
of the recipient of the telegram ; but I do not see why 
this argument should prove it to a person who doubted 
or denied it. If two very similar stimuli are followed 
by two very different results, we are no doubt justified 
in concluding that these stimuli are not the complete 
causes of the reactions which follow them. But of course 
it would be admitted by every one that the receipt of the 
telegram is not the complete cause of the recipient's re- 
action. We all know that his brain and nervous system 
play an essential part in any reaction that he may make 
to the stimulus. The question then is whether the 
minute structure of his brain and nervous system, in- 
cluding in this the supposed traces left by past stimuli 
and past reactions, is not enough to account for the 
great difference in his behaviour on receiving two very 
similar stimuli. Two keys may be very much alike, 



BODY AND MIND 121 

but one may fit a certain lock and the other may not. 
And, if the lock be connected with the trigger of a 
loaded gun, the results of "stimulating" the system 
with one or other of the two keys will be extremely 
different. We know that the brain and nervous system 
are very complex, and we commonly suppose that they 
contain more or less permanent traces and linkages due 
to past stimuli and reactions. If this be granted, it is 
obvious that two very similar stimuli may produce very 
different results, simply because one fits in with the 
internal structure of the brain and nervous system whilst 
the other does not. And I do not see how we can be 
sure that anything more is needed to account for the 
mere difference of reaction adduced by the "telegram 
argument." 

The Positive Theory of Parallelism. The doctrine of 
Psycho-physical Parallelism, or, as I prefer to call it, 
"Psycho-neural Parallelism", has two sides to it. 
One is negative ; it is the denial that mind acts on 
body and the denial that body acts on mind. With this 
side of it I have now dealt to the best of my ability, 
and have argued that there is no reason to believe it 
and tolerably good reason to disbelieve it. But Psycho- 
neural Parallelism has also a positive side, which might 
be accepted by one who rejected its negative side. The 
positive assertion of Parallelism is that there is a one- 
one correlation between events in a mind and events 
in the brain and nervous system of the body which 
it animates. Is there any reason to believe this on 
empirical grounds? 

I think we must say that it may be true, but that it is 
a perfectly enormous assumption unless there be some 
general metaphysical ground for it ; and that the em- 
pirical evidence for it is, and will always remain, quite 
inadequate. The assertion is that to every particular 
change in the mind there corresponds a certain change 
in the brain which this mind animates, and that to every 



/ 



122 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

change in the brain there corresponds a certain change 
in the mind which animates this brain. What kind of 
empirical evidence could there be for such an assertion ? 
At best the evidence would be of the following kind : 
''I have observed a number of brains and the minds 
which animate them ; and I have never found a change 
in either which was not correlated with a specific change 
in the other. And all other people who have made 
similar observations have found the same thing." If^^ 
had evidence of this sort the positive side of Parallelism 
would be a straightforward inductive generalisation of 
it ; i.e.^ an argument from " A has never been observed 
to happen without B " to " A never does happen without 
B ". But actually we have no evidence whatever of this 
kind. No one person in the world ever has observed, 
or probably ever will observe, a brain and its mind. 
The only mind that he can observe is his own and the 
only brains that he can observe are those of others. 
Nor is this the worst. We can very rarely observe 
other men's brains at all, and never when they are alive 
and in a state of normal consciousness. Thus the 
actual empirical data for the positive side of Parallelism 
consist of observations on brains which are no longer 
animated by minds at all or whose animating minds 
are in abeyance. And these minds could not be 
directly observed by us even if they were present and 
functioning normally. 

It will therefore be worth while to consider carefully 
what amount of parallelism we really are justified on 
empirical grounds in assuming, (i) We have fairly 
good reasons for thinking that the existence and general 
integrity of a brain and nervous system is a necessary 
condition for the manifestation of a mind to itself and to 
other minds. We do not positively know that it is a 
sufficient condition ; and the question whether it be so 
or not will have to be discussed later in this book. Our 
evidence is all of the following kind : (i) In the absence 
of a brain and nervous system we see none of those 



BODY AND MIND 123 

external actions which we know in our own case to be 
accompanied by consciousness, (ii) The brain and 
nervous system are known to increase in complexity 
up to a certain age, and we have observed in 
ourselves and can infer from the behaviour of 
others a corresponding growth in mental complexity, 
(iii) Soon after men have ceased to show signs of 
consciousness by their external behaviour their brains 
and nervous systems break up. It must be admitted 
that it might be maintained with almost equal plausibility 
that these last facts show that the integrity of the 
brain and nervous system is dependent on the presence 
of the mind. We might just as well argue .that the 
brain begins to break up because the mind has ceased 
to animate it, as that the mind has ceased to manifest 
itself because the brain has begun to break up. In 
fact, seeing the order in which we actually get our 
knowledge of the two facts, the former is prima facie 
the more plausible interpretation, (iv) In many cases 
where men's behaviour has been so odd as to suggest 
that their minds are abnormal, it is known that their 
brains have been injured or it has been found after 
their death that their brains were in an abnormal state. 
On the other hand, it must be admitted that the brains 
of some lunatics on dissection show no systematic 
differences from those of normal people. It would 
obviously be absurd to talk of "Parallelism" in 
reference to this very general relation between the 
integrity and complexity of the brain and nervous 
system, on the one hand, and the manifestation of a 
human mind, on the other. 

(2) There is, however, empirical evidence which 
goes rather further than this. It is found that wounds 
in certain parts of the brain make specific differences 
to the mind. E-g-, a wound in one part may be 
followed by a loss of memory for spoken words, and 
so on. Unfortunately, similar results can often be 
produced by causes like hypnotism or like those which 



124 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

psycho-analysts discuss. And here there is no positive 
empirical evidence that these specific areas of the brain 
are affected. Again, there seems to be some evidence 
that, after a time and within certain limits, another part 
of the brain can take over the functions of a part that 
has been injured. Thus the most that we can say is 
that the general integrity of certain parts of the brain 
seems to be at least a temporarily necessary condition 
for the manifestation of certain specific kinds of mental 
activity. It remains doubtful how far any given area is 
indispensable for a given kind of mental activity, and 
whether there may not be some kinds of activity which, 
though dependent like all others on the general integrity 
of the brain, are not specially correlated with any 
particular area. We might sum up these facts by 
saying that there is good evidence for a considerable 
amount of "Departmental Parallelism" between mind 
and brain. 

(3) The orthodox Parallelist, however, goes much 
further than this, and much beyond the most rigid 
departmental parallelism. He would hold, not merely 
that there is a strict correlation between each distin- 
guishable department of mental life and some specific 
area of the brain, but also that there is a strict parallelism 
of events. E.g., he holds, not merely that I could not 
remember at all unless a certain area of my brain were 
intact, but also that if I now remember eating my 
breakfast there is a certain event in this area uniquely 
correlated with this particular mental event. And by 
"unique correlation" he means that if some other 
mental state had happened now instead of this particular 
memory there would necessarily have been a different 
brain-event, and conversely. So far as I know there 
is not, and could not possibly be, any empirical evidence 
for this " Parallelism of Events", as I will call it. For 
(i), while a man is conscious and can observe events 
in his own mind, his brain is not open to inspection by 
himself or by anyone else. And, when his brain is 



BODY AND MIND 125 

open to inspection, he is not likely to be in a position 
to introspect or to tell others what is going on in his 
mind, even if something is happening there at the time, 
(ii) In any case the events in the brain which are sup- 
posed to correspond to particular events in the mind 
would be admitted to be too minute to be observable 
even under the most favourable circumstances. They 
are as purely hypothetical as the motions of electrons, 
without the advantage that the assumption of them 
enables us to predict better than we could otherwise do 
what states of mind a man will probably have under 
given circumstances. 

It seems to me then that there is no empirical evidence 
at all for a Parallelism of Events between mind and 
brain. If this doctrine is to be held, the grounds for it 
must be general. E.g. psycho-neu7'al parallelism might 
■be plausible if, on other grounds, we saw reason to 
accept psycho-/-%F^zV(3:/ parallelism ; i.e., the doctrine that 
everj/ physical event is correlated with a specific mental 
event, and conversely. And the wider doctrine might 
be defended as helping to explain the apparent origin 
of life and mind from apparently non-living and non- 
conscious matter. This is a question which we shall 
have to discuss later ; all that I am concerned to argue 
at present is that, at the level of enlightened common- 
sense and apart from some general metaphysical theory 
of the nature of matter and mind, there is no adequate 
evidence for a psycho-neural parallelism of events. 
And, as parallelism has commonly been defended on 
the ground that it is established by empirical scientific 
investigation of the brain and nervous system, this fact 
is worth pointing out. 

If there is no reason /or psycho-neural parallelism of 
events, is there any positive reason agaijist it? Some 
philosophers have held that there is. They have held 
that, while it is possible and even probable that some 
mental events are correlated with specific neural events, 
it is impossible that this should be true of all mental 



126 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

events. Those who take this view generally hold that 
there probably is psycho-neural parallelism of events 
for sensations, but that there certainly cannot be such 
parallelism for comparison, introspection, attentive in- 
spection, and so on. This view is taken by Mr Johnson 
in his Logic (Part III) ; and it will be worth while to 
consider his arguments. They are contained in Chapter 
VII, § 6 of that work. Mr Johnson's argument, if I 
rightly understand it, comes to this : We must dis- 
tinguish, e.g., between the /<2:^/ that I am having two 
sensations, one of which is light red and the other dark 
red, and my recognition that both are red and that one 
is darker than the other. We must likewise distinguish, 
e.g. , between the fact that the dark one started before 
the light one, and my recognition of this fact ; and 
between the fact that the dark one is to the left of the 
light one in my visual field and my recognition of this 
fact. Finally, we must notice that we have to dis- 
tinguish different degrees of clearness and determinate- 
ness with which a perfectly determinate fact may be 
recognised. We may merely judge that one sensum is 
separate from another, or we may judge that one is 
to the left of the other, or we may judge that the first 
is as much to the left of the second as the second is to 
the right of a third, and so on. Now Mr Johnson 
contends that the sensations themselves have neural 
correlates, and that the determinate qualities and 
relations which the sensations actually have are deter- 
mined by the qualities and relations of these neural 
correlates. But he holds that there is then nothing 
left on the neural side for the recognition of these qualities 
and relations to be correlated with. Still less is there 
anything left on the neural side to be correlated with 
the infinitely numerous different degrees of determinate- 
ness with which the qualities and relations of the sensa- 
tions may be apprehended. Hence he concludes that 
mental events above the level of sensations cannot be 
correlated one to one with specific neural events. He 



/»>*-* 



BODY AND MIND 127 

does not explicitly draw the distinction which I have 
done between Departmental Parallelism and Parallelism 
of Events ; but I think it is plain that his argument is 
meant only to deny the latter. He would probably 
admit that, if certain specific areas of our brains were 
injured, we should lose altogether the power of making 
judgments of comparison and of recognising spatio- 
temporal relations ; but he would hold that, given the 
general integrity of those areas, there is not some 
one specific event within them corresponding to each 
particular judgment of comparison or of spatio-temporal 
relation. 

Before criticising this argument we must notice that C-JT^jLt*'- 
Mr Johnson does not explicitly distinguish sensations 
and sensa. - By a " sensation " I think he means what 
I should call a " sensed sensum ". And he thinks that, 
from the nature of the case, there can be no unsensed 
sensa. Thus a sensation for him is a sensum, regarded 
as existentially mind-dependent ; and, in virtue of its 
supposed existential mind-dependence, it counts as a 
mental event belonging to the mind on which its 
existence depends. If we like to distinguish between 
mental states and mental acts we can say that a sensa- 
tion, for Mr Johnson, is apparently a mental state 
having certain sensible qualities, such as colour, position 
in the visual field, and so on. To recognise that one is 
having a sensation, that it is of such and such a kind, 
and that it stands in such and such spatio-temporal 
relations to other sensations, would be to perform a 
cognitive mental act. And his contention is that, whilst 
there is a parallelism of events for mental states, there 
cannot for this very reason be also a parallelism of events 
for mental acts. This at least is how I understand him. 

Now I must confess that Mr Johnson's argument 
seems to me to be so extremely weak that (knowing 
Mr Johnson) I hesitate to believe that I can have 
properly understood it. Let us suppose that the actual 
relative position of two sensa s^ and jr^ in a visual sense- 



128 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

field is determined by the relative position of two excited 
areas in the brain, b^ and b.^. Let us suppose that the 
actual relative date of the two sensa in the sense-history 
of the experient is determined by the relative date of 
the excitement of these areas. And let us suppose 
that the determinate sensible qualities of the two sensa 
{e.g., the particular shade of the particular colour pos- 
sessed by each) is determined by the particular kind of 
movement which is going on in the microscopic particles 
within these two areas. Mr Johnson's contention seems 
to be that, when we have mentioned the positions of 
the excited areas, the dates at which they begin to be 
excited, and the particular kind of movement which is 
going on within them, we have said all that can be said 
about the neural events. There is nothing left on the 
neural side to be correlated with our acts of recognition, 
of qualitative comparison, and of spatio-temporal judg- 
ment ; and therefore these events can have no special 
neural correlate. To this there are two answers which 
seem so obvious that I am almost ashamed to make 
them. 

(i) At the very utmost the argument would show only 
that there is nothing left within the two areas b^ and b^ 
to be correlated with any judgments which we happen 
to make about the sensations s-^ and s^_^. But these two 
areas do not exhaust the whole of the brain and nervous 
system. Why our acts of judgment about these two 
sensations should not have neural correlates in some 
other part of the brain I cannot imagine. The situation 
on the mental side is that we may, but need not, make 
these judgments if we do have the sensations ; and that 
we cannot make them unless we have the sensations. 
This is exactly what we might expect if the neural 
correlates of the acts of judgment were in a different 
part of the brain from the neural correlates of the sensa- 
tions themselves ; and if a certain kind of disturbance 
in the latter were a necessary but insufficient condition 
of a certain kind of disturbance in the former. 



BODY AND MIND 129 

(2) But we could answer the argument without needing 
even to assume that the neural correlates of judgments 
about sensations are in a different area of the brain from 
the neural correlates of the sensations themselves. We 
have to remember that the same area may contain at 
the same time microscopic events of different scales 
of magnitude. Let us take a purely physical analogy. 
The same piece of metal may be at once hot and glow- 
ing. We have extremely good reasons to believe that 
both these apparent characteristics are correlated with 
microscopic motions which are going on throughout 
the whole volume occupied by the bit of metal. The 
heat is supposed to be correlated with the random move- 
ments of molecules and the light with the jumps of 
electrons from one stable orbit to another. The large- 
scale events can go on without the small-scale events 
(a body may be hot without glowing) ; but the more 
violent the large-scale events the more frequent will be 
the small-scale events (a body begins to glow if it be 
heated enough). Now I cannot imagine why the same 
thing might not be true of the neural correlates of 
sensations and the neural correlates of our judgments 
about our sensations. Suppose that the neural corre- 
lates of sensations were large-scale events in a certain 
area of the brain ; and suppose that the neural correlates 
of our judgments about these sensations were small- 
scale events in the same area. Then I should expect 
to find that sensations could happen without our making 
judgments about them ; that we could not make the 
judgments unless we had the sensations ; and that it 
would be more difficult not to make the judgments as 
the sensations became more intense, other things being 
equal. And this is exactly what I do find. It seems 
to me then, either that I have altogether misunderstood 
Mr Johnson's argument, or that there is nothing what- 
ever in it. 

There remains one other point to be discussed before 
leaving the subject. It is true, as Mr Johnson points 

I 



130 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

out, that we make judgments of various degrees of 
determinateness about the same perfectly determinate 
fact. Does this raise any particular difficulty against 
the view that every act of judgment has a specific neural 
correlate? I do not think that it does, if we avoid 
certain confusions into which it is very easy to fall. 
I suppose that the difficulty that is felt is this : " Every 
neural event is perfectly determinate ; how can an inde- 
terminate judgment have a determinate neural correlate ; 
and how can there be different determinate neural corre- 
lates for all the different degrees of determinateness in 
judgments?" To this I should answer (i) that of course 
the differences on the neural side which would correspond 
to different degrees of determinateness in the judgment 
are not themselves differences of determinateness. But 
why should they be ? The differences on the neural side 
which correspond to differences of shade in sensations 
of colour are not themselves differences of shade. If, 
e.g-., the area which is correlated with judgments about 
our sensations be different from the area which is corre- 
lated with the sensations themselves, we might suppose 
that differences in the determinateness of the judgment 
were correlated with differences in the extent or the 
intensity of the disturbance within this area. If, on 
the other hand, we supposed that our sensations were 
correlated with large-scale events, and our judgments 
about these sensations with small-scale events in the 
same region of the brain, we might suppose that 
differences in the determinateness of the judgment are 
correlated with differences in the frequency of these 
small-scale events. There is thus no difficulty, so far 
as I can see, in providing neural correlates to every 
different degree of determinateness in our judgments, 
(ii) It is perhaps necessary to point out that what is 
called an "indeterminate judgment" is not an indeter- 
minate event ; every event, whether mental or physical, 
is no doubt perfectly determinate of its kind. £•£'', 
whether I merely judge that sojne one has been in the 



BODY AND MIND 131 

room or make the more determinate judgment that 
John Smith has been in the room, either judgment as 
a psychical event has perfectly determinate forms of 
all the psychical determinables under which it falls. 
The indefiniteness is in what is asserted, not in the 
act of asserting as such. Hence the problem is not, 
as it might seem to a careless observer, to find a deter- 
minate neural correlate to an indeterminate psychical 
event ; the problem is merely to find a determinate 
neural correlate to a determinate psychical event which 
consists in the asserting of a relatively indeterminate 
characteristic. 

I conclude then that no adequate reason has been 
produced by Mr Johnson to prove that there cannot 
be specific neural correlates to mental acts as well as 
to mental states. I have also tried to show that there 
neither is nor is likely to be any empirical evidence 1^ 
for the doctrine that all mental events have specific ' 
neural events as their correlates. Hence the positive 
doctrine of Psycho-neural Parallelism of Events seems * 
to me to be a perfectly open question. This is not 
perhaps a wildly exciting result. But it is not alto- 
gether to be despised, since it leaves us with a perfectly 
free hand when we try to construct a speculative theory 
of the relations of matter and mind which shall do 
justice to all the known facts. For the known facts 
neither require nor preclude complete Psycho-neural 
Parallelism of Events. 

Summary and Conclusions. I wish to make quite 
clear what I do and what I do not claim to have done 
in this chapter. I have definitely assumed that the ' 
body and the mind are two distinct entities, which are \ 
now in a very intimate union, which I express by saying 
that the former is "animated by" the latter. I have 
raised no question about the exact nature or origin 
of this relation of "animation"; and I have not con- 
sidered the apparent growth of mind in the individual 



132 MIND AND ITS PLACE IN NATURE 

or the apparent development of consciousness from the 
non-conscious in the course of the earth's history. 
Again, I have taken the body to be very much as 
common-sense, enlightened by physical science, but not 
by philosophical criticism, takes it to be ; I have 
supposed that we know pretty well 'what a mind is ; 
and I have assumed that causation is not simply regular 
sequence and concomitant variation, though these are 
more or less trustworthy signs of the presence of a 
causal relation. These are the assumptions on which 
the question of Interaction has commonly been discussed 
by philosophers and by scientists ; and it would be 
idle for me to conceal my opinion that it has been 
discussed extraordinarily badly. The problem seems 
to have exercised a most unfortunate effect on those 
who have treated it ; for I have rarely met with a 
collection of worse arguments on all sides. I can only 
hope that I have not provided yet another instance in 
support of this generalisation. 

My conclusion is that, subject to the assumptions 
just mentioned, no argument has been produced which 
should make any reasonable person doubt that mind 
acts on body in volition and that body acts on mind 
in sensation. I have tried to show the extreme diffi- 
culties which are involved in attempting to deny that 
body acts on mind. And I have tried to show that 
the apparently equal difficulties which seem to be in- 
volved in attempting to deny that mind acts on body 
could be evaded with a little ingenuity. Thus One- 
sided Action of Body on Mind is a possible theory. 
But there seems to me to be no positive reason for 
accepting it, and at least one reason for doubting it, 
viz., the conviction which many men have (and which 
Mr Hume's arguments fail altogether to refute) that 
we know directly that our volitions are necessary con- 
ditions for the occurrence of our voluntary movements. 

If these conclusions be sound. Parallelism, con- 
sidered as an alternative which excludes Interaction, 



BODY AND MIND 133 

has no leg left to stand upon. But Parallelism has a 
positive side to it which is perfectly compatible with 
Interaction, and is therefore worth discussing for its 
own sake. I distinguished between the metaphysical .. 
doctrine of Vsycho-p hysical Parallelism and the more f 
restricted doctrine of Psycho-neural Parallelism. And 
I divided the latter into Departmental Parallelism and 
Parallelism of Events. It seemed to me that there was 
good empirical evidence for a considerable amount of 
Departmental Parallelism, but that there was not and 
is not likely to be adequate empirical evidence for 
Parallelism of Events. On the other hand, I came to 
the conclusion that Mr Johnson's arguments to prove 
that complete parallelism between mental and neural 
events is iinpossible were quite unsound. 

This, I think, is as far as the discussion can be 
carried at this level. One thing seems to me to emerge 
clearly even at this point. If interaction has to be 1 
denied at a later stage it can only be because the | 
relation between mind and body turns out to be so/ 
intimate that " interaction " is an unsuitable expression ) 
for the connection between a particular mental event;' 
and its correlated bodily event. This would be so if, \ 
e.g.^ Materialism were true, so that the mind was just 
some part of the body. It might be so on a Double- 
aspect Theory, or on a theory of Neutral Monism. 
But we cannot decide between such general theories 
until we know more about the true nature of Mind 
and of Matter, and have taken into consideration 
questions about origin and development of minds 
which we have hitherto explicitly left out of account. 
Thus the final discussion of the question can come 
only near the end of the book. 



SECTION B 

Introductory Remarks 

" If there's a screw loose in a heavenly body, that's philosophy ; 
and if there's a screw loose in a earthly body, that's philosophy 
too ; or it may be that there's sometimes a little metaphysics in 
it, but that's not often. Philosophy's the chap for me. If a 
parent asks a question in the classical, commercial, or mathe- 
matical line, says I gravely, ' Why, sir, in the first place, are 
you a philosopher ? ' ' No, Mr Squeers,' he says, ' I ain't.' 
'Then, sir,' says I, ' I am sorry for you, for I shan't be able to 
explain it.' Naturally the parent goes away and wishes he was 
a philosopher, and, equally naturally, thinks I'm one." 

(Dickens, Nicholas Nicklehy) 



SECTION B 

The Mind's Knowledge of Existents 

Introductory Remarks 

In this Section I am going to consider the knowledge 
which a human mind has of matter, of itself, and of 
other minds. Knowledge is a transaction with two 
sides to it, the mind which knows and the objects 
known. A critical discussion of the mind's alleged 
knowledge of anything should therefore help to clear 
our ideas both of the nature of the mind and its activities 
and of the nature of the objects which it knows. Thus, ,, 
in discussing the mind's knowledge of matter through jL, 
perception, we ought to learn something both of the ** 
nature of the mind as a percipient and of the nature 
and reality of matter. And, when we consider the 
mind's knowledge of itself and of other minds, we ought 
to learn something of the nature of the mind from two 
sides. Common-sense believes itself to know pretty 
well what mind is and what matter is, though it might 
have great difficulties in putting its beliefs into clear 
and consistent language. So far we have accepted 
these claims without question, and have discussed 
certain problems subject to this condition. We have 
now to pass from the level of enlightened common- 
sense to that of Critical Philosophy. By this I mean 
that we have to consider carefully the sources of our 
alleged knowledge of matter and of mind, and to see 
how far we can still accept the common-sense view of 
these two entities in the light of this additional informa- 
tion. Even if the common-sense view should not need 

137 



4-1 



138 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

correction^ it will certainly need careful and explicit 
statement; and, when stated, it may seem unfamiliar 
and even shocking to common-sense. 

It would, I think, be admitted by every one that such 
knowledge as we have of matter is based on sense- 
perception and memory. Each man's sense-perception 
and memory are supplemented by communication with 
other minds which claim to tell him what they have 
perceived and remembered. Thus the problem of our 
knowledge of matter inevitably involves the problem of 
our knowledge of other minds. There is less agreement 
about the sources of our knowledge of other minds. 
But I suppose that every one would admit that a 
necessary, if not a sufficient, condition of such 
knowledge is that we should listen to the sounds and 
note the gestures of other human bodies. So the 
problem of our knowledge of other minds is in turn 
bound up with the problem of our knowledge of matter. 
The exact connexion between these two problems will 
have to be considered in some detail. There is, again, 
a lack of agreement about the sources of a mind's 
knowledge of itself. I suppose that every one would 
admit that memory is involved here as much as in our 
knowledge of matter. But, on the one hand, some 
people deny the existence of a mental activity, called 
*' introspection," by which a mind observes itself or the 
events belonging to it. And those who admit the 
existence of this activity differ a good deal about its 
limitations ; for some think that we can introspect both 
acts and states, whilst others seem to hold that we can 
introspect states but not acts. On the other hand, some 
people who admit the existence of introspection and 
give it extensive powers would hold that it is not the 
only or the main source of our knowledge of our own 
minds. 

In any case we can see at once that the^ three problems 
are most intimately linked, and that no treatment of 
one can be satisfactory without a treatment of the rest. 



INTRODUCTORY REMARKS 139 

I have already tried to show this linkage between the 
problem of our knowledge of matter and the problem of 
our knowledge of other minds. There seems to be an 
equally close connexion between the problem of our 
knowledge of our own minds and that of our knowledge 
of other minds. For, even if it be not the whole truth, it 
certainly seems an important part of the truth to say 
that our beliefs about other minds are based on analogies 
with what we know of our own. The other point which 
is already clear is that memory is involved in all three 
kinds of knowledge. Hence the divisions of this Section 
will be the following : First I shall treat Sense-perception, 
then Memory, then Our Knowledge of our own Minds, and 
then Our Knowledge of other Minds. The reader will 
remember that this division is necessary, because we 
cannot say everything at once, but that none of these 
four chapters is likely to be satisfactory when taken by 
itself. 



CHAPTER IV 

Sense-perception and Matter 

In this chapter I propose to give a sketch of the problem 
of the mind's knowledge of matter through the senses. 
I shall necessarily be covering again ground which I 
have already been over in my Scie?itific Thought, and I 
must refer the reader to the Second Part of that book 
for a detailed statement and defence of my views on the 
subject. Here I shall be as brief as possible, and in 
consequence somewhat dogmatic. I shall, however, be 
approaching the problem from a slightly different angle, 
so that I hope that this chapter will not be mere vain 
repetition. 

Perceptual Situations. Let us begin with something 
that every one, whatever his philosophical views may be, 
would admit to be a fact. Some people would raise 
doubts about the existence of physical objects, such as 
chairs, tables, bells, etc. Some people would raise 
doubts about the existence of selves or minds which 
perceive such objects. But no one doubts that such 
phrases as " I see a bell ", "I feel a bell ", "I hear a 
bell ", indicate states of affairs which actually exist from 
time to time. People do not begin to quarrel till they 
try to analyse such situations, and to ask what must be 
meant by " I ", by the *' bell ", and by " hearing ", if it 
is to be true that " I hear a bell". When they do this 
they are liable to find that the only senses of " I ", 
"bell", and "hear", which will make the statement 
true are very different from those which we are wont to 
attach to those words. If this should happen, it still 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 



141 



1 



remains true, of course, that the phrases *' I hear a 
bell" and *' I see a chair" stand for real states of 
affairs which differ in certain specific ways from each 
other ; but these states of affairs may be extremely 
different in their structure and their components from 
what the form of words which is used to indicate them 
would naturally suggest to us. 

I will call such situations as are naturally indicated 
by phrases like " I am seeing a chair" or " I am hearing 
a bell" by the name of ** Perceptual Situations". I 
take it then that every one agrees that there are such 
things as Perceptual Situations. Can we all agree to 
go any further together before parting company ? I 
think we obviously can. (i) There are certain situa- 
tions, which undoubtedly arise from time to time, which 
are indicated by such phrases as "I feel tired " or 
"I feel cross". I think that every one would admit 
that perceptual situations differ radically from these. 
Suppose we compare the situations indicated by the 
two phrases " I feel cross " and " I hear a bell ". When 
we feel cross we are not feeling someZ/^Z/z^but are feeling 
some/iow. When we hear a bell we no doubt are feeling 
some/low, but the important point about the perceptual 
situation is that we claim to be in cognitive contact with 
something other than ourselves and our states. This 
claim is just as obvious in those perceptual situations 
which are commonly believed to be delusive as in those 
which are commonly believed to be veridical. The two 
situations "I am hearing a bell" and "I am seeing 
pink rats " agree completely in this respect, and both 
differ in this respect from the situation "I feel cross". ' 
L will express the difference between the two kinds of i 
situatioTL hy -^ayiiigL_that the one does and the other 
does not have an " epistemological object". The bell- 
situation and the pink-rat-situation both have epistemo- 
logical objects ; the situation indicated by " I feel cross " 
has no epistemological object. My motive in adding 
the qualifying word "epistemological" is that other- 



:^~, 

.-r^- 



t-^' 



^■h 



142 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

wise some bright spirit will at once complain that the 
pink-rat situation has no object. What he really means 
is of course that there is no ontological object, corre- 
sponding to the epistemo logical object which the situation 
certainly has ; i.e., that the situation involves a certain 
claim which the physical world refuses to meet. I had 
better take this opportunity to anticipate another purely 
verbal objection which someone is sure to make. Some- 
one is certain to say: "We don't really see pink rats, 
for there are none ; we only think that we see them." 
To this I answer by admitting that words like "seeing ", 
"hearing", etc., do, most unfortunately, introduce the 
" fallacy of many questions " like the barrister's query : 
"When did you leave off beating your wife?" The 
phrase "I see so-and-so" is taken in ordinary life to 
mean: "There is a perceptual situation of the visual 
kind of which I am subject. This has such and such 
an epistemological object. And there is a physical 
object corresponding to this epistemological object". 
If a second person has reason to believe that the third 
of these propositions is false, he will be inclined to say: 
"You are not really seeing so-and-so ; you only think 
that you are seeing it". Now words like "seeing" and 
"hearing" are hopeless for our present purpose if they 
are to be interpreted in this way. I therefore wish it to 
be clearly understood that I shall depart so far from 
/ common usage as to say that a man sees a pink rat, 
provided he is subject of a perceptual situation which 
has a pink rat as an epistemological object and is of 
the visual kind, regardless of whether there is a 
physical pink rat corresponding to this epistemological 
object. With these verbal explanations I think that 
every one would admit that there are perceptual situa- 
^- tions and that all perceptual situations necessarily have 
epistemological objects. Common language, though 
far from consistent, expresses the difference between 
the two kinds of situation in the following way : It 
tends to express a situation which has no epistemo- 



4: 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 143 ^ 

logical object by the verb "to feel" followed by an • v» . 

adjective or adverb, such as "cross" or "crossly", '^r*^ 2' 
It tends to express a situation which has an epistemo- 4^^ 
logical object by some special transitive verb, such as t a^ ^ 
"see" or "hear", and by a substantive-name which, "-' y^ ^ ' 
in an inflected language, would be put in the accusa- 
tive case. In order to know what is the epistemological 
object of any situation it is only necessary to know the 
meaning of this substantive-word in the phrase which 
expresses the situation. In order to know whether 
the situation has an ontological as well as an epistemo- 
logical object it is plainly not enough to consider the 
meanings of words; the question can be settled only, 
if at all, by a careful enquiry into the nature and 
connexions of things. 

(ii) It would further be admitted by every one that 
not all situations which have an epistemological object 
are perceptual, {a) In the first place there are situations 
whose epistemological objects are such that no physical 
object could correspond to them, though ontological 
objects of a different kind might correspond to them. 
E.g., the situation expressed by the phrase "I notice 
that I am acting spitefully" has an epistemological object. 
But, if there be an ontological object which corresponds 
to this epistemological object, it certainly cannot be 
any purely physical thing or event. It must be some 
process which is going on [n my mind. I will say 
that the epistemological object of a situation which has 
such an object may be "of the physical kind", or " of / ^ 

the psychical kind", or possibly of many other kinds. - v 
It would be agreed, I think, that the epistemological 
object of any perceptual situation must be of the 
physical kind ; and this simply means that, if there be 
an ontological object corresponding to it, it must be a 
physical object or event. 

{b) It would further be admitted that a situation may 
have an epistemological object of the physical kind and 
yet not be a perceptual situation. Compare the two 



144 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

phrases '* I am hearing a bell " and '' I am thinking of 
a bell". The epistemological objects of the two situa- 
tions which are expressed by these two phrases are both 
of the physical kind ; they might, so far as one can see, 
even be identical. But every one recognises that there is 
a deep difference between the situations. We should 
vaguely express one part of this difference by saying that 
in the perceptual situation we are " in more immediate 
touch with" the bell than in the thought -situation. 
This difference is indicated in speech by the fact that the 
phrase which expresses the thought-situation contains a 
preposition like " of " or " about" before the substantive- 
word which expresses the epistemological object of the 
situation, whilst there is in general no such word in the 
phrase which stands for the perceptual situation. I will 
express this difference by saying that a perceptual 
; situation is " intuitive ", whilst a thought-situation with 
•) the same kind of epistemological object is "discursive ". 
^^ ^ Here again I suppose that every one would admit the 
distinction which I am drawing, though different 
philosophers would differ violently about the proper 
analysis of it. I do not wish to deny that there may be 
:, something intuitive in every thought -situation and 
something discursive in every perceptual situation. But 
I think that it is plainly true that what strikes us about 
the situation called "hearing a bell" is its intuitive 
character, and that what strikes us about the situation 
; called "thinking about a bell" is its discursive 
character. 

(c) We must next notice that there are situations 
' which have an epistemological object of the physical 
kind, and are intuitive and not discursive, and yet would 
not be called perceptual. The most obvious examples 
are memory-situations. I may have a genuine memory 
of the tie which my friend was wearing yesterday. 
This situation has an epistemological object of the 
physical kind. And it is intuitive, in the sense in which 
seeing his tie would be intuitive and merely thinking of 






SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 145 

his tie would not be. But it is quite different from a 
perceptual situation. And one important difference, at 
any rate, is this. It is of the essence of a perceptual 
situation that it claims to reveal an object as it is at the 
time when the situation is going on ; and it is of the 
essence of a memory-situation that it claims to reveal an 
object as it was some time before the memory-situation 
began. It is perfectly true that, when I see a distant 
star, this is an instance of a perceptual situation ; and it 
is true that there is strong reason to believe that, if the 
situation reveals a physical object at all, it reveals it as it 
was long before the situation began. But this does not 
affect the t^uth of my statement. For it is certainly ^ 

true that, so long as we remain at the level of perception ^ J,„x^ 
and do not introduce inferences, the situation does claim ^ 

to reveal the star as it now is ; and, if it did not, it 
would not be a perceptual situation. 

(iii) There is one other point which I suppose that 
every one would admit to be common and peculiar to 
perceptual situations. This is the fact that sensation 
plays an unique and indispensable part in them. I do 
not think it is possible to define "sensation". But if 
is possible to give illustrations which every one will 
recognise. Such statements as " I am aware of a red 
flash", "I am aware of a squeaky noise", and so on, 
are certainly sometimes true ; and they express a kind 
of situation which is perfectly familiar to every one. 
Whenever such a statement is true, there exists a 
sensation. And it would be admitted that there^cannpt 
be perceptual situations without sensations. I think 
that it would also be admitted that sensations play a part 
in perceptual situations which they do not play in any 
other kind of situation. I will express this fact by 
saying that perceptual situations are "sensuous". 

We may now sum up the points on which every one 
is really agreed, however much they may differ in their 
language, as follows : There certainly are perceptual 
situations ; they are intuitive and sensuou s and they 



tp, 



^^^ 



146 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

have epistemological objects of the physical kind, 
which are given as simultaneous with the situation 
itself. This is of course neither a definition of the 
perceptual situation nor an analysis of it ; it is simply a 
set of propositions which are admittedly all true of 
perceptual situations and not all true of anything else. 
Does the agreement stretch any further than this? I 
think that it can be carried one step further. I think 
that every one is really agreed about the irreducible 
minimum of characteristics that a thing would have to 
possess in order to count as a physical object. Now it 
is agreed that all perceptual situations claim to reveal 
objects of this kind, for that is what we mean when we 
say that they all have epistemological objects of the 
physical kind. Let us then raise the question : 

What do we understand by a " Physical Object " ? The 
following marks seem to characterise anything that we 
should be willing to call a " physical object", (i) It is 
conceived to be a strand of history of reasonably long 
duration, as compared with that of our specious present, 
and possessed of a certain characteristic unity and 
continuity throughout the period during which it is 
said to last. A mere flash would hardly be counted as 
a physical object ; a penny, if it has the characteristics 
which it is commonly believed to have, would count as 
one. (ii) It is conceived to be quite literally extended 
in space. It has some size and some shape, an inside 
as well as an outside, and it stands in spatial relations 
to other physical objects. Strictly speaking, we ought 
rather to say that each momentary cross-section of the 
history of the object has these characteristics, and that 
the nearer together two such cross-sections are in time 
the more nearly alike they will be in their spatial 
properties. It may happen, as a particular case, that 
all the momentary cross-sections of a certain physical 
object within a certain stretch of time are exactly alike 
in all their spatial characteristics. In this case we 
should say that, for this stretch of time, the object had 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 147 

kept its shape and position unchanged, (iii) It is con- 
ceived to persist and interact with other physical objects 
when no one perceives it. "Being perceived" is re- 
garded as something which happens from time to time 
to physical objects, but which is not essential to their ^ ,w^-*-' 

existence, and makes no further difference to their '^ J^^^^ , 
qualities either at the time or afterwards, (iv) It is 
conceived to be perceptible by a number of different 
observers^at Ihe same time, as well as by one observer 
at various times. (v) It is supposed to combine a 
number of other qualities beside the spatio-temporal 
characteristics already mentioned. Some of these quali- 
ties reveal themselves in one way, others in another 
way ; thus colour reveals itself to sight, hardness and 
temperature to touch, and so on. In order that a certain 
kind of quality may reveal itself to a certain mind it 
seems necessary that the body which this mind animates 
shall be gifted with appropriate sense-organs. Thus it 
is held to be quite possible that physical objects may 
have many qualities which are never revealed to us, 
simply because we lack the necessary sense-organs. If 
there be no things which have all these characteristics, 
there are, strictly speaking, no physical objects ; and 
all perceptual situations are delusive. But of course 
there might still be things which literally possessed 
some of these characteristics and to which the rest could 
be ascribed in various more or less Pickwickian senses. 
In that case it would be a matter of taste whether we 
still said that we believed in physical objects ; but it 
would be a matter of fact that all perceptual situations 
are delusive in certain respects. E.g:, if the ordinary 
scientific view, as commonly interpreted, were right, all 
perceptual situations would be delusive in so far as they 
claim to reveal objects which literally have colour, taste, 
smell, etc. But they would be veridical in so far as 
they claim to reveal objects which literally have shape, 
size, position, and motion. If Berkeley be right, all 
perceptual situations are delusive in every respect except 



148 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

in their claim to reveal something independent of and 
common to percipients. This "something" will be the 
permanent habits of volition according to which God 
sends us such and such sensations on such and such 
occasions. 

Analysis of Perceptual Situations. The typical lin- 
guistic expression for a perceptual situation is a sentence 
like '*! see the chair" or "I hear the bell". This 
mode of expression inevitably suggests a certain mode 
of analysis for the perceptual situation. It suggests 
that it consists of me and the physical object whose 
name appears in the phrase, related directly by an 
asymmetrical two-term relation which is indicated by the 
verb. And this suggests that the admitted existence of 
the situation guarantees the existence of me and of the 
physical object. How far can this simple-minded view 
be maintained? 

In philosophy it is equally silly to be a slave to 
common speech or to neglect it. When we remember 
that it represents the analyses made unconsciously for 
practical ends by our prehistoric ancestors we shall not 
be inclined to treat it as an oracle. When we remember 
that they were probably no greater fools than we are, we 
shall recognise that it is likely to accord at any rate 
with the more obvious facts, and that it will be wise to 
take it as our starting-point and to work from it. It is 
plausible to suppose that the perceptual situation which 
language describes by the phrase " I see a chair" does 
contain two outstanding constituents related by an 
asymmetrical two-term relation. But it is quite another 
question whether these two constituents can possibly 
be what is commonly understood by "me" and by 
"chair". Let us now consider this question, first as 
regards the object and then as regards the subject. 

The Objective Constituent. Even if we had never had 
any reason to believe that some perceptual situations 
are delusive, this extremely simple-minded analysis 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 149 

would need to be modified considerably, {a) It would 
be admitted that in any one perceptual situation I am fe^ 
never aware of the whole of the surface of a physical 
object, in the sense in which I do seem to be aware of 
a part of it. Nobody who was looking at a bell would 
seriously maintain that, at a given moment, he is aware 
of the far side and the inside of the bell, in the same 
sense in which he would claim to be aware of a certain 
part of the outside which is facing him at the time. 
And by a " bell " we certainly mean something which 
has a closed surface with an inside as well as an out- 
side, and not merely a patch with indefinite boundaries. 
Thus the most we could say is; *'The perceptual 
situation contains as a constituent something which is 
in fact part of the surface of a bell ". {b) A similar 
limitation with regard to time must be put on the naive 
analysis of the perceptual situation. By a "bell" we 
mean something of considerable duration ; something 
which certainly may, and almost certainly does, stretch 
out in time beyond the limits of the perceptual situation 
in which I am aware of it. Now no one would maintain 
that the parts of the history of the bell which come 
before the beginning and after the end of a certain 
perceptual situation are "given" to him in that per- 
ceptual situation in the same sense in which the con- 
temporary slice of the bell's history is " given ". Thus 
we have no right to say that the situation, described by 
the phrase " I am seeing the bell " contains the bell as a 
constituent ; at most we can say that it contains as a 
constituent a short event which is in fact a slice of a 
longer strand of history, and that this longer strand is 
the history of a certain bell, {c) It would be admitted 
by every one that a bell is something more than a 
coloured surface, more than a cold hard surface, and so 
on. Now, so long as I merely look at a bell, its colour 
only is revealed to me ; its temperature or hardness are 
certainly not revealed in the same sense at that time. 
Similarly, when I merely touch the bell, only its 



150 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

temperature and hardness are revealed to me; its colour 
is certainly not revealed to me in the same sense at that 
time. Once again then I have no right to say that the 
hell is a constituent of either of these perceptual situa- 
tions. At most I may say there is a constituent which 
displays certain qualities, and that this same con- 
stituent has in fact other qualities which would be 
displayed under other conditions. 

Thus we are forced to modify the first naive analysis 
of " I see a bell" at least in the following respects: 
We cannot hold that this situation literally contains the 
bell itself as a constituent. The most we can say is 
that the situation contains me and something related by 
an asymmetrical two-term relation ; that this something 
is in fact a part of a larger surface, and is also a short 
slice of a longer strand of history ; that it has in fact 
other qualities beside those which are sensuously re- 
vealed to me in this situation ; and that this spatially 
larger and temporally longer whole, with the qualities 
which are not revealed sensuously in this situation, is a 
certain bell. This whole is the epistemological object 
of the situation expressed by the phrase " I am seeing 
the bell ". And, even if it be granted that there is an 
ontological object which corresponds accurately to the 
epistemological object, we cannot admit that it is bodily 
a constituent of the situation. The most that we can 
grant is that a small spatio-temporal fragment of the 
ontological object is literally a constituent of the situa- 
tion, and that a small selection of the qualities of this 
fragment is sensuously revealed in the situation. 

Now of course the existence of any complex whole 
entails the existence of anything that really is a con- 
stituent of it. There is no doubt that such situations 
as are described by the phrase "I see a bell" exist. 
And there is no doubt that the epistemological object 
of such a situation is something having all the character- 
istics which are connoted by the word "bell". If then 
the perceptual situation did contain as a constituent 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 151 

something which accurately corresponds to its episte- 
mological object, the existence of the former would 
guarantee that of the latter. But it is now clear that 
the situation does not and could not contain as a con- 
stituent anything that could properly be denoted by 
the word " bell ". Hence the existence of the situation 
denoted by the phrase " Isee the bell " does not suffice 
to guarantee the existence of a certain thing denoted oA' 

by the phrase ''the bell". It is plain then that there 
is involved in every perceptual situation another factor 
beside me and a certain spatio-temporally extended 
particular. This is the conviction that this particular 
something is not isolated and self-subsistent, and is not 
completely revealed in all its qualities ; but that it is 
spatio-temporally a part of a larger whole of a certain 
characteristic kind, viz., a certain physical object, and 
that this whole has other qualities beside those which 
are sensuously manifested in the perceptual situation. 

Let us call the constituent about which we believe 
these propositions *' thg^ objective cojoatituent of the per- 
ceptual situation ". And let us call this conviction 
wETch we have about the objective constituent ''the 
external reference of the situation ". I give it this 
name because it clearly points spatially, temporally, 
and qualitatively, beyond the situation and what is 
contained in and sensuously manifested in it. I will 
now say something more about the external reference 
of a perceptual situation. 

The External Reference, {a) It would be false psycho- 
logically to say that we infer from the nature of the 
objective constituent and from any other knowledge that 
we may have that it is part of a larger spatio-temporal 
whole of a certain specific kind. It is perfectly evident 
that we do nothing of the sort. Of course we can talk 
of "unconscious inferences", if we like; but at most 
this means that we in fact reach without inference the 
kind of conclusion which could be defended by inference 
if it were challenged, {b) It would be false logically 



152 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

to say that the beliefs which are an essential factor in 
a perceptual situation, though not reached by inference, 
could be justified by inference. I can see no way of 
validly inferring from the mere presence of an objective 
constituent, which sensuously manifests such and such 
qualities, that this constituent is part of a larger spatio- 
temporal whole which is not a constituent of the situation 
and has other qualities. It might perhaps be argued 
that, although this cannot be inferred with certainty 
from anyone or from any number of perceptual situations 
taken separately, it might be inferred with probability 
from a number of such situations taken together and 
considered in their mutual relations. I shall go further 
into this question a little later in the chapter. But it 
is evident that, even if the general validity of such 
inferences be admitted, their conclusion would be some- 
thing much less definite than the belief that the objective 
constituent of a perceptual situation is a spatio-temporal 
part of a larger whole which corresponds accurately to 
the epistemological object of the situation. Strictly 
speaking, the most that could be directly inferred from a 
study of perceptual situations and their mutual relations 
is that probably such and such a perceptual situation 
will be accompanied by such and such others, belong- 
ing to different observers ; or that it will probably be 
succeeded by such and such other perceptual situations, 
provided I make such and such movements. The notion 
of persistent physical objects is logically merely a hypo- 
thesis to explain such correlations between perceptual 
situations ; and the common-sense belief that the objective 
constituents of perceptual situations are literally spatio- 
temporal parts of persistent physical objects is logically 
one very special form of this hypothesis. It is tolerably 
obvious that the actual strength of our conviction that 
in perception we are in direct cognitive contact with 
literal spatio-temporal parts of a physical object, which 
corresponds to the epistemological object of the situa- 
tion, could not be justified by inference. (<:) Lastly, we 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 153 

express the position far too intellectually, when we say 
that in a perceptual situation we are acquainted with an 
objective constituent which sensuously manifests certain 
qualities, and that this acquaintance gives rise to and 
is accompanied by a belief that the constituent is part 
of a larger spatio-temporal whole of a specific kind. 
We must remember that ignorant men, and presumably 
animals, perceive as well as philosophers ; and we must 
beware of mixing up our analysis of the perceptual 
situation with the situation as it actually exists. It 
would be nearer the truth to say that, at the purely 
perceptual level, people do not have the special experi- 
ence called "belief" or "judgment". To believe so 
and so at this level really means to act as it would be 
reasonable to act if one believed so and so, and to be 
surprised if the action turns out to be a failure. We 
automatically adjust our sense-organs in a certain way ; 
we make incipient movements ; and so on. These are 
of course accompanied by characteristic bodily feelings. 
Again, traces left by former experiences will be excited, 
and this may give rise to images. More often it gives I 

rise only to vague feelings of familiarity and to vague j^ ^ ^ '\ 
expectations. An example of what I mean is provided (^ ^y/-^ 
if we see what looks like a heavy weight, but is really 
a hollow object made of skilfully painted cardboard. 
We generally do not have any distinct images of what 
it would feel like to lift such a weight ; still less do 
we make explicit judgments about its heaviness. But, 
if we start to lift it, we shall find that we have auto- 
matically adjusted our bodies as it would be reasonable 
to do if we had judged it to be heavy. And the feelings 
connected with this adjustment will be part of the total 
experience of external reference. When we start to 
lift it we almost overbalance, and we feel our expecta- 
tions frustrated, though these expectations were not 
really present at the time as distinct beliefs about the 
future. 

I shall have to carry this analysis a little further 



154 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

when I come to consider the subjective side of the 
perceptual situation, to which it more properly belongs. 
But it was necessary to ward off certain probable mis- 
understandings at once. To sum up : In all perceptual 
situations there is an external reference beyond the 
objective constituent ; and, if you asked the ordinary 
man to make this reference explicit, he would say that 
the objective constituent is literally part of a certain 
physical object of larger size and longer duration, which 
possesses many qualities beside those which are sensu- 
ously manifested to him in the perceptual situation. 
It is in virtue of this external reference that the per- 
ceptual situation has the epistemological object which 
it does have ; for the epistemological object just is this 
whole of which the objective constituent is believed 
to be a part. But it would be false psychologically to 
say that this belief is reached by a process of inference. 
For in fact we cannot detect any such process, and 
we ascribe perception to beings who would be quite 
incapable of making inferences of the kind required. 
It would also be false psychologically to say that this 
belief exists at the purely perceptual level in the form 
of an explicit judgment ; we must rather say that the 
percipient adjusts himself automatically in ways that 
would be reasonable if he held this belief, and that 
the belief is represented at this stage by the bodily 
feelings which accompany these adjustments and by 
the feelings of satisfaction or frustration which arise 
according to the results of acting as if one held the 
belief. Lastly, it would be false as a matter of logic 
to maintain that this belief, in the precise form and in 
the actual strength in which it is held, could be justified 
by any known process of reasoning from any available 
premises. 

So far we have used no argument which would not 

9r be equally valid if no perceptual situations were in the 

least delusive. But of course it is held that there are 

delusive perceptual situations, and that in some cases 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 155 

the epistemological object is wildly different from the 
ontological object. The drunkard 'says that he sees 
pink rats, just as the sober man says that he sees a 
penny. And the former means by "pink rats" some- 
thing which lasts beyond the duration of the perceptual 
situation, which could be felt as well as seen, which 
could be seen and felt by other men, which would eat 
corn and excite fox-terriers, and so on. We call this 
perceptual situation "delusive," because none of these 
expectations, which form an essential factor in the 
situation, are verified by the contemporary perceptions 
of other observers or by the subsequent perceptions 
of the drunkard himself. We must remember that, 
although no amount of perceptual verification can 
prove that the objective constituent of a perceptual 
situation is a part of a physical object of a certain 
specified kind, complete failure of such verification may 
make the contradictory of this almost certain. It may 
be doubtful whether there are such things as pennies, 
in the sense in which the unphilosophical teetotaller 
asserts that there are ; and it may be doubtful whether 
the objective constituent of the situation which we call 
"the teetotaller's perception of a penny" is literally 
part of a penny, as he believes it to be. But it is 
practically certain that there are no such things as pink 
rats, in the sense in which the unphilosophical drunkard 
asserts that there are, when he is in the situation called 
"seeing pink rats." 

Now the existence of wildly delusive perceptual 
situations, such as we have been describing, is im- 
portant for our present analysis in several ways : [a) 
It supports the conclusion, which we have already 
reached independently, that language is a partly mis- 
leading guide to the analysis of perceptual situations. 
The perceptual situation, described as " I am seeing a 
penny," does seem likely to contain the penny as a 
constituent if we follow the guidance of the phrase. 
We have already seen that this cannot be literally 




156 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

true, without needing to take into account the existence 
of delusive perceptual situations. But this is more 
glaringly obvious in the case of delusive perceptual 
situations. The drunkard says "I see a pink rat", 
just as the sober man says *' I see a brown penny " ; 
and, mutatis mutandis, they mean exactly the same kind 
of thing by their two statements. So long as we follow 
the suggestions of language, there is just as much 
reason for holding that a pink rat is a constituent of 
the drunkard's perceptual situation as for holding that 
a brown penny is a constituent of the sober man's 
perceptual situation. But this analysis must be wrong 
in the former case, since there is almost certainly no 
pink rat to be a constituent of anything. And, since 
there is no relevant internal difference between the 
veridical and the delusive perceptual situation, it is 
reasonable to suppose that in no case does a perceptual 
situation contain as a constituent the physical object 
which corresponds to its epistemological object, even 
when there is such a physical object. 

{b) No doubt each perceptual situation does contain 
an objective constituent of a characteristic kind. And 
in each case this is bound up with the practical belief 
that this constituent is part of a larger and more endur- 
ing whole which possesses certain other qualities beside 
those which are sensuously manifested in the situation. 
The difference is that this practical belief, which goes 
beyond the present situation and its contents, is certainly 
wrong in the one case, whilst (so far as we have yet 
seen) it might possibly be right in the other. And 
there is absolutely nothing in the two situations as such 
to distinguish the case where the belief is certainly false 
from the case where it is possibly true. Now this cuts 
out an alternative which we have not yet refuted. We 
have indeed seen that the external reference of a per- 
ceptual situation cannot be regarded as a valid logical 
inference from the existence of the situation and the 
nature of its objective constituent. But, if there had 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 157 

been no delusive perceptual situations, the following 
alternative might have been maintained. It might 
have been held that every perceptual situation is as 
such accompanied by an infallible revelation that its 
objective constituent is part of a larger and more 
enduring whole of a certain specific kind. All such 
situations certainly involve this claim ; and, if there 
had been no reason to think that any of them are 
delusive, it might have been held that this is not a 
mere claim but an infallible revelation. So far as I can 
see, such a position cannot be maintained in face of 
perceptions of pink rats. The claim made here is of 
precisely the same kind as is made when teetotallers 
perceive pennies. And it is made just as strongly. 
Here the claim proves to be false. And, if it be false 
in some cases, it cannot be accepted as true merely at 
its face-value in any case. Of course, if we water down 
the claim enough, it may at last be put in such an 
attenuated form as to be invulnerable to all refutation. 
If we claim merely that the objective constituents in all 
perceptual situations are correlated in some way with 
something larger and more enduring than themselves, 
and that every variation in the former is a sign of a 
change oi some kind somewhere or other in the latter, we 
can hardly be refuted. There is, no doubt, some such 
correlation between the objective constituent of the 
drunkard's perceptual situation and the alcohol in his 
stomach or something that is happening in his brain. 
But I think it is perfectly clear that perceptual 
situations do involve a more specific claim than this ; 
and that, since this specific claim is certainly wrong in 
some cases and since there is no internal distinction 
between these cases and others, it may be wrong in all. 
The Alternative Theories. So far I have granted that, 
in some cases at least, the objective constituent of a 
perceptual situation may in fact be literally a part of a 
larger external object of a certain specific kind, having 
other qualities beside those which are sensuously mani- 



158 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

fested in the situation. I have shown only {a) that this 
object, as such, is never a constituent of the situation ; 
{b) that this claim can never be accepted at its face- 
value, because it is certainly sometimes false in situations 
which differ in no relevant internal respect from those 
in which it might be true ; and {c) that the claim cannot 
be proved to be true, as it stands, by logical inference 
from any premises which are available to us. It now 
remains to see whether we can hold that it is ever true. 
Let us confine ourselves for the present to visual 
situations. I think we can prove that in this case we 
are tied down to two alternatives, neither of which 
accords very well with common-sense. Either {a) the 
objective constituent of a visual situation does not have 
some of the properties which it seems on careful in- 
spection to have, and does have properties inconsistent 
with these ; or {b) the larger external whole of which it 
is a part is so different from what it is commonly 
supposed to be that it hardly deserves the name of 
" physical object ". Of course it is possible that both 
alternatives might have to be combined. Let us now 
try to prove this. 

A penny is believed by common-sense to be a round 
flat object whose size and shape are independent of the 
observer, his position, and his movements. A certain 
observer may move about, and may hold that in all the 
perceptual situations in which he is placed he sees the 
whole of the top of a certain penny. If he carefully 
inspects the objective constituents of these perceptual 
situations he will certainly find that they seem to be of 
different shapes and sizes. Most of them will seem 
elliptical and not round, and the direction of their 
major-axes and their eccentricity will seem to vary as he 
moves. Now, if these objective constituents are to be 
identified with different short slices of the history of the 
top of the penny, one of two views must be taken, {a) 
One alternative is to suppose that these objective con- 
stituents 7'eall}' are all round and all of one size, although 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 159 

they seem^ on careful inspection, to be elliptical and of 
various sizes and eccentricities, ib) The other alternative 
is to suppose that the penny is not of constant size and 
shape, as is commonly believed, but that it varies in 
these respects as the observer walks about. 

Now the latter alternative might be the reasonable 
one to take if only one observer had to be considered, 
and only his successive visual situations. But in fact 
there may be a number of observers who can compare 
notes. They may agree that they are all seeing the 
whole of the top of the same penny. And, as we have 
said, it is certainly part of the notion of a physical 
object that it is capable of being perceived by several 
observers at once. Now suppose that one of these 
observers stands still, whilst another moves about. 
The objective constituent of the stationary observer's per- 
ceptual situation will seem constant in size and shape ; 
the objective constituents of the moving observer's 
successive perceptual situations will seem to differ in 
size and shape. Evidently, if we suppose that these 
objective constituents really do have the characteristics 
which they seem to have ; that the observers really are 
seeing the whole of the top of the same penny ; and 
that the objective constituents of their respective per- 
ceptual situations really are identical with slices of the 
history of the top of the penny, we shall have to 
suppose that the penny both changes and keeps constant 
in shape and size during the same stretch of time. And 
this seems at first sight impossible. If you give up the 
view that two different observers can both literally see 
the same part of the same physical object at the same 
time, you have given up the neutrality and publicity 
which are part of the notion of a physical object. If 
you accept this publicity and neutrality, and identify 
the objective constituents of the various visual situations 
with the neutral and public top of the penny, you imist 
hold either id) that the objective constituents have 
certain qualities which differ from and are inconsistent 



t6o MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 



^ 
K 



with those which they seem on careful inspection to 
have ; or {b) that the top of the penny both varies and 
keeps constant in shape and size within the same stretch 
of time. The second alternative may seem impossible ; 
but let us not rashly reject it, since the first is not very 
much more attractive. 

A like result is reached if we consider a single 
observer in two different kinds of perceptual situation. 
A man may feel a penny, and at the same time move 
his head about whilst he continues to look at it. The 
objective constituent of the tactual situation seems on 
inspection to be constant in shape and size. Those 
of the successive visual situation seem on inspection 
to differ in shape and size. Now common-sense holds 
that it is the same surface which we see and which 
we touch ; though certain non-spatial qualities, such 
as colour, are sensuously manifested only in one kind 
of situation, whilst other non-spatial qualities, such as 
temperature, are sensuously manifested only in another 
kind of situation. If we wish to keep the common- 
sense notion of physical objects, we must hold either 
{a) that the objective constituents of some perceptual 
situations have certain qualities which differ from and 
are inconsistent with those which they seem on careful 
inspection to have ; or [b) that one and the same surface 
can vary and keep constant in shape and size within 
the same stretch of time. 

I think that I have now proved that we are tied 
down to three alternatives, each almost as distasteful to 
common-sense as the others, {a) We may try to keep 
the common-sense view that the objective constituents 
of some visual situations are literally spatio-temporal 
parts of a certain physical object, which we are said to 
be "seeing". But, if we do this, we must hold either 
(a) that this physical object can be both constant and 
variable in its spatial characteristics within the same 
stretch of time ; or (^) that the objective constituents 
of the visual situations can have qualities which are 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 161 

different from and inconsistent with those which they 
seem on careful inspection to have. Or (b) we may 
drop the common-sense view that the objective con- 
stituent of a visual situation may be, and in some cases 
actually is, literally a spatio-temporal part of a certain 
physical object which we are said to be "seeing". 
I will now take these alternatives in turn. 

{a, a) Theory of Multiple Inherence. It might be held 
that this alternative is so absurd that it is not worth 
discussing. Is it not a plain contradiction that the 
same part of the same thing should be at once variable 
and constant in size, round and elliptical, and so on? 
It seems to me that this is possible, if and only if what 
we commonly regard as pure qualities are really relational 
properties. We all know that the same man can be at 
the same time generous (to his family) and stingy (to 
his workmen). The only question is whether we could 
possibly deal with such propositions as " This is round ", 
"This is elliptical", etc., where "This" is an objective 
constituent in a visual situation, in a similar way. Let 
us first state what characteristics the objective con- 
stituent of a visual situation seems on careful inspection 
to have. I think we may fairly say that it seems to be 
a spatially extended patch, having a certain determinate 
size and shape, situated in a certain determinate position 
out from the body, and now occupied and marked out 
by a certain determinate shade of a certain colour. Of 
course, the colour need not be uniform throughout the 
region ; but this raises no question of principle, so I 
will assume for simplicity that it is uniform. We have 
then four things to consider : the apparent colour, the 
apparent shape and size, the apparent position, and the 
apparent date at which the colour inheres in the place. 

Now it has been suggested that the objective con- 
stituent of a visual situation can be regarded as a 
certain region of physical space which is pervaded by 
a certain determinate shade of colour at a certain time, 
provided that we recognise that the relation of " per- 

L 



l62 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

Ivasion " is of a peculiar kind. It must not be a two- 
term relation, involving only the pervading colour and 
. the pervaded region, as we commonly suppose. It 
must be at least a three-term relation, involving the 
pervading colour, the pervaded region, and another 
region which we might call the " region of projection ". 
Theories of this kind have been suggested lately by 
Dr Whitehead and by Professor Kemp Smith ; and it 
seems to me that such a theory in a very crude form 
may be detected by a very charitable interpreter in the 
writings of Malebranche. I propose now to discuss it 
in my own way without further reference to the eminent 
men who have suggested it. I will call this type of 
theory "The Theory of Multiple Inherence". 

The impression which it makes on me at the outset 
is that it can be made to work very well for secondary 
qualities, like colour, provided we raise no questions 
about shape, size, position, and date ; but that it is 
more difficult to deal with these apparent characteristics 
of the objective constituents of perceptual situations 
in terms of the theory. Let us begin with colour. 
According to the theory the proposition "This is 
sensibly of such and such a shade of red " (where 
"this" is an objective constituent of a visual situation) 
could not be true if "this" were the only thing in the 
world, any more than "This is a shareholder" could 
be true if "this" were the only thing in the world. 
And by "could not" here I mean, not merely that it 
is causally impossible, but also that it is logically im- 
possible. Red, on the present view, is a characteristic 
j( of such a kind that it cannot inhere in a place simply ; 
^ it can only " inhere-in-a-place-from-a-place ", and this 
relation, which needs such a complex phrase to express 
it, is simple and unanalysable. Now, supposing that 
this were true, it would be perfectly possible that one 
and the same region of physical Space should be per- 
vaded at one and the same time by different determinate 
shades of red. For the minimum complete statement 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 163 

about pervasion by a colour would be of the form : 
''The determinate shade r-^ inheres in the place j- from 
the place s^ at the time /". And this is perfectly- 
compatible with: "The determinate shade r^ inheres 
in the place s from the place ^2 ^^ the time /". What 
would be inconsistent with the first proposition is the 
proposition : "The determinate shade rg inheres in the 
place s from the place s^ at the time /". But there is 
no reason to suppose that this complication ever arises, 
so it need not trouble us. 

It would now be perfectly easy to define a meaning 
for the phrase " j- is red " without reference to any other 
particular place. We might, ^.^., define "i- is red" 
to mean "From every place some shade of red inheres 
in s ". This is no doubt only a first approximation to 
a satisfactory definition. For " every place " we should 
certainly have to substitute "every place that fulfils 
such and such conditions". But the general principle 
of the definition is obvious enough, and I do not think 
that there would be much difficulty in mentioning the 
conditions. The full statement would not, I think, 
differ very much from the following : — "i- is physically 
red" means "From every place which is physically 
occupied by a normal human brain and nervous system 
in a normal condition and is near enough to s some 
shade of red sensibly inheres in j-." The first condition 
is put in to deal with colour-blind men and men drugged 
with santonin ; the second is put in to cut out complica- 
tions about coloured spectacles, and so on. 

The essence of the theory, so far as we have gone, 
is this: We must distinguish between the "sensible" 
and the "physical" inherence of a colour in a place. 
The former is the fundamental and indefinable relation ; 
and it is irreducibly triadic, involving an essential 
reference to the pervading shade of colour, the pervaded 
region, and the region of projection. The latter is a 
two-term relation ; but it is not ultimate, for it is defin- 
able in terms of the former. And the definition is of the 



i64 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

following kind: "R inheres physically in j- " means 
"From every place Sn, which fulfils certain conditions 
C, some determinate form r„ of the determinable R 
sensibly inheres in s". With these definitions we 
could perfectly well maintain the common-sense view 
that a physical object cannot have two different colours 
at once, and yet admit that it does have different colours 
at once. We should simply need to clear up the 
ambiguities of our statements. The truth will be (i) 
that two different colours cannot sensibly inhere in the 
\ same place from the same place at once ; (2) that two 
different colours cannot physically inhere in the same 
place at once ; but (3) that different colours or different 
shades of the same colour can sensibly inhere in the same 
place from different places at once. Perhaps I ought to 
say a word or two in further explanation of the second 
of these propositions. To say that the same place was 
at once physically red and physically green would be to 
say that from every one of a certain set of places this 
place was sensibly pervaded by some shade of red, and 
that from every one of the same set of places it is at the 
same time sensibly pervaded by some shade of green. 
This, I suppose, would be admitted to be impossible. 
But it does not cover all that we mean when we say 
that the same place could not at once be physically 
pervaded by two different colours. Under this head we 
should also include, e.g.^ two different shades of red as 
well as two different colours, such as red and green. 
This, however, raises no insuperable difiiculty. We 
have defined the physical colour of a place in terms of 
the colour under which all the determinate shades which 
sensibly inhere in it from a certain set of places fall. 
It would be quite easy to define its physical shade in a 
similar way. We should say that a certain place was 
physically pervaded by purple if and only if all the 
shades which sensibly inhere in it from places which 
fulfil the required conditions fell within certain limits. 
If we were prepared to say that this place is physically 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 165 

pervaded by scarlet it is certain that it would have to be 
sensibly pervaded from the same places by different 
shades of red. Since it could not be sensibly pervaded 
at the same time and from the same place by different 
shades of the same colour any more than by shades of 
different colours, it would be impossible for it to be at 
once physically pervaded by scarlet and by purple on 
our definitions. 

So far we have been discussing a question which may 
be called ''logical", in a wide sense, and certainly not 
"causal". By this I mean that we have simply been 
considering the question : "What formal characteristics 
must the relation of inherence possess if it is to be 
logically possible to hold that a number of different 
colours or shades of colour inhere at the same time in 
the whole of the same region of Physical Space? " The 
causal question is: "Under what conditions will such 
and such a colour inhere in such and such a place from 
such and such a place?" To this question I now turn. 

In view of what we know of geometrical and physical 
optics and of the physiology of vision, I think that the 
following answer is almost certain. The independently 
necessary and sufficient material conditions for a certain 
shade of colour to pervade a certain external region 
from a certain region of projection are all contained in 
or are close to the region of projection. (I will explain 
in a moment why I introduce the qualifications which I 
have italicised.) The direction of the pervaded region 
is the direction in which a normal human being, whose 
body is in the projecting region, has to look, in order to 
get the objective constituent under consideration into 
the middle of his visual field ; and this is known to 
depend simply on what is going on in the immediate 
neighbourhood of his eyes. When a number of people 
are said to be "seeing the same object directly under 
normal conditions", i.e.^ without complications due to 
mirrors, non-homogeneous transparent media, and so 
on, their respective lines of sight intersect within a 




i66 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

fairly small determinate region. This is where the 
object is then said to be. But of course there often are 
mirrors and other complications, and we must be 
prepared to deal with the general case. When the 
medium is in fact non-homogeneous, or the vision is 
indirect, the place which is pervaded by a given shade 
of colour from a given region of projection is that place 
in which a suitable object would have to be put in order 
to present the same appearance if viewed directly and 
through a homogeneous medium. In actual fact 
nothing physically relevant may be going on in this 
region ; this is the case with mirror images. If I look 
at the reflection of a luminous point in a plane mirror 
the region which is pervaded from where I am standing 
is somewhere behind the mirror ; it is the place where a 
luminous point would have to be put in order to present 
the actual appearance, if viewed directly and without a 
mirror, from where I am standing. And of course 
nothing physically relevant is happening at this place 
behind the mirror. The direction of the place is 
determined by the direction in which the light enters 
my eye, i.e., by physical events in the immediate 
neighbourhood of the region of projection. Its distance 
along this direction is presumably determined by traces 
left in my brain by past visual situations and correlated 
bodily movements in cases where the vision really was 
direct and through a homogeneous medium. Thus I 
am justified in saying that the position of the pervaded 
region is immediately determined by events in or close 
to the region of projection. 

Next, the facts which make us ascribe a velocity to 
light, and particularly the fact of aberration, make it 
almost certain that the date at which a certain place is 
pervaded by a certain shade of colour from a certain 
region of projection is the date at which certain events 
are happening within the region of projection. When 
I look at a distant star a certain shade of colour sensibly 
inheres in a certain distant region of Physical Space 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 167 

from the place which is physically occupied by my 
body, if the present theory be true. But we know 
quite well that the star may no longer be physically 
occupying this distant region ; and that, whether it 
does so or not, the relevant physical events may have 
happened there hundreds of years ago. 

Lastly, and in close connexion with this, we must 
notice that the particular colour and the particular 
shade of it which sensibly pervade an external place 
from a region of projection are almost certainly deter- 
mined by specific events in the eyes, optic nerves, and 
brain which now physically occupy this region of 
projection. Facts about colour-blindness, about the 
effects of drugs like santonin, and of morbid bodily 
states like jaundice, make this practically certain. 

I have now defended the statement that the hide- 1 
pendently necessary and sufficient material conditions 
which determine that such and such an external place 
shall be pervaded by such and such a shade of colour 
from a certain region of projection are physically 
present within or close to that region. I will now 
explain what I mean by the italicised qualifications in 
this statement. (i) The physical events within the 
region of projection of course have physical causes. 
Now a necessary condition of a necessary condition of 
an event may be called a " dependently " necessary 
condition of that event. There is every reason to 
believe that the pervasion of a certain region from a 
certain region by a certain shade of colour has generally 
dependently necessary conditions which are quite remote 
from the region of projection. When a certain place 
is pervaded byivery sirnilar shades of the same colour 
from all directions it is generally found that, on walking 
up to this place, tactual situations arise. And the 
objective constituents of these tactual situations are 
generally found to be closely correlated with the 
objective constituents of the successive visual situa- 
tions which occur as we walk up to this place. We 



i68 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

say then that this place is "tactually occupied". And 
we have very good reason to believe that such a region 
is physically occupied by certain microscopic events 
which are remote and dependently necessary conditions 
of the pervasion of this region by such and such a shade 
of colour from places round it. These events determine 
by physical causation certain events in our eyes, optic 
nerves, and brains ; and the latter events are the im- 
mediately necessary and sufficient material conditions 
of the pervasion of the external region by such and 
such a shade of colour from the region of projection 
which contains our bodies. This may be regarded as 
the normal case ; and it is expressed in common 
language by saying that we are then ''looking directly 
at a certain physical object through a colourless homo- 
geneous medium ". But of course this sweet simplicity, 
though normal, is not universal. Suppose that a 
number of people " see the same mirror image ". Then 
there is a certain set of microscopic physical events in 
a certain region of Space ; and these do constitute the 
common dependently necessary condition of the per- 
vasion of a place behind the mirror by similar shades 
of the same colour from a number of different regions 
of projection. But the region which contains these 
physical microscopic events is remote from the region 
in which these shades of colour sensibly inhere ; it is 
in fact as far in front of the mirror as the pervaded 
region is behind it. 

Let us call the region which contains the co mjiion 
dependently necessary conditions " the emitting region ". 
Then the position may be put as follows : In visual 
perception we have to consider an emitting region, a 
region of projection, a pervaded region, and a per- 
vading shade of colour. The pervaded region is im- 
mediately determined by events in and near the region 
of projection. These events also determine immediately 
the pervading shade and colour. And they are them- 
selves determined by microscopic events in the emitting 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 169 

region. In the cases that arise most often in everyday 
practical life the pervaded region and the emitting 
region roughly coincide. But, in the case of mirror- 
images and the visual situations which arise when we 
are surrounded by non-homogeneous media, the per- 
vaded region and the emitting region cease to coincide 
and may be very distant from each other. The pervaded 
region may then contain no physical events at all ; and, 
if it does, they will be quite irrelevant. In such cases 
there will always be a purely optical peculiarity too, 
viz., that the pervaded region will never be pervaded 
from «// directions by similar shades of the same colour. 
(Cf. the sudden change which happens in the visual 
situation when we go to the back of a mirror in which 
we have been viewing the image of a certain object.) 

Just as we have contrasted the pervaded region and 
the emitting region, so we must contrast the "date of 
pervasion " and the *' date of emission ". Owing to the 
very great velocity of light these generally coincide 
almost exactly in the visual situations of ordinary life. 
But, when we are concerned with very remote objects, 
such as stars, the date of emission (which is always 
earlier than the date of pervasion) may precede the 
latter by thousands of years. In the phenomenon of 
aberration we have a most interesting case in which 
the motion of the observer of a very distant object, and 
the difference between the date of emission and the date 
of pervasion, cause a difference between the place of 
emission and \h^ place of pervasion. 

(2) I have now explained why I used the phrase 
^^independently necessary and sufficient conditions". It 
remains to explain why I introduced the word '■'' niateriaV 
before "conditions" in my original statement. This 
was simply a precaution. I cannot be completely 
certain that the sensible inherence of such and such a 
shade of colour in such and such a place from a given 
region of projection may not have psychical as well as 
physical conditions. Since we cannot get a brain and 



170 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 



/\\y 



S9 



i 



nervous system like ours working properly without a 
mind like ours, it is obviously impossible to be sure 
that the latter is irrelevant for the present purpose and 
that the former is sufficient by itself. And, beside this 
general consideration, there is a more specific ground 
for caution. I do not think that the determination of 
the position of the pervaded region can be completely 
explained without reference to the persistent effect of 
past visual and tactual situations and bodily movements, 
and the associations between them. Now of course 
these factors may now be represented simply by per- 
sistent and suitably linked material modifications in the 
brain and nervous system. But, on the one hand, these 
material "traces" are purely hypothetical effects of 
certain causes and causes of certain effects. And, on 
the other hand, even if they be now purely material, it 
may be that they could not have been formed originally 
without the action of the mind, at least in the form of 
selective attention. If this be so, we might still say that 
the independently necessary conditions for a certain colour 
to pervade a certain place from a given region of pro- 
jection are all material ; but we should have to recognise 
that the past action of the mind is a dependently necessary 
condition, just as much as the past vibrations of distant 
electrons. 

So far the Theory of Multiple Inherence seems to 
have worked fairly well. But we have left to the end 
the hardest question with which it is faced. This is the 
question of " physical " and " sensible " shape and size. 
We know that different observers, who say that they 
are all seeing the whole of the top of the same penny, 
find on careful inspection that the shapes and sizes of 
the objective constituents of their respective visual 
situations seem to be different. We know that the 
same complication arises if a single observer moves 
about whilst he claims all the time to be seeing the 
whole of the top of the same penny. And we know 
that it also arises when the same observer claims to be 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 171 

at once seeing and touching the whole of the top of the 
same penny. We have dealt with similar difficulties 
about shades of colour by suggesting that the relation 
of inherence between a colour and the place which it 
pervades is irreducibly triadic, and not dyadic, as has 
commonly been thought. But can we possibly deal ] 
with the difficulties about shape and size in the same / 
way? Curiously enough, Dr Whitehead does not, so | 
far as I know, discuss this point. Yet no theory can 
claim to be satisfactory which does not make some 
answer to the question. 

At first sight it seems evident that we cannot deal 
with variations in the apparent shape of the same sur- 
face in the way in which we have been dealing with 
variations in its apparent colour. It seems obvious that 
the proposition "This is round" cou/d have been true, 
even if there had been nothing in the world but this 
area. In fact the shape of a region seems to be an 
intrinsic quality of it ; and it seems nonsense to talk of 
various shapes inhering in a certain region from various 
places. Plausible as this argument sounds, I believe 
that it is mistaken. I think that it overlooks a very 
important distinction, viz., the distinction between a 
"sensible form" and a "geometrical property". I 
shall first try to explain the difference between the two, 
and to show that they must be distinguished quite apart 
from the present problem. And I shall then try to ; 
show that the distinction enables us to apply the j 
Multiple Inherence Theory to the question of variations \ 
of apparent shape and size. 

Let us consider circularity, for example. I find it 
necessary to distinguish a certain geometrical property 
called "circularity" and a certain sensible form called 
by the same name, for the following reasons. The 
geometrical property can be defined. To say that a 
certain area is geometrically circular means that all the 
points on its boundary are equidistant from a fixed 
point. But, if I wanted to make someone understand 



172 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

what I was referring to by the phrase "sensibly 
circular ", it would be of no use whatever to offer this 
definition or any other definition. All that I could do 
would be to proceed by exemplification^ just as I should 
have to do if I wanted to make him understand what I 
am referring to when I use the word "red". I should 
in fact have to proceed as follows : I might start by 
getting the man to look straight down on to a penny. 
I should then cut out geometrically circular bits of 
paper of various colours and sizes and get him to look 
straight down on them. I should also cut out bits of 
paper of the same colours and different geometrical 
shapes, and get him to look straight down on them. 
I should then say to him : "You notice that there was 
a certain resemblance between all the objective con- 
stituents of the first series of visual situations in which 
I placed you, in spite of the differences of colour, etc. 
And you notice that there was a certain unlikeness 
between every objective constituent of the first series 
of visual situations and every objective constituent of 
the second series. Very well ; what I am referring to 
by the phrase "circular sensible form " is that feature 
which was present in all members of the first series and 
absent in all members of the second." In my view it is 
just as impossible to know a priori that a geometrically 
circular area, when pervaded by a colour and viewed 
normally, would have the sensible form called "cir- 
cularity" as it is to know a priori that an area contain- 
ing electrons moving in a certain way would be pervaded 
by a certain shade of red from a place occupied by a 
normal human body. Of course some geometrical pro- 
"3| perties are themselves indefinable, e.g.^ geometrical 
straightness. But it remains a fact that all sensible 
forms are indefinable, whilst many of the geometrical 
properties which are called by the same name are 
definable. It is therefore certain that geometrical pro- 
perties and the sensible forms which are called by the 
same names must be distinguished. 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 173 

Let us now apply this conclusion to our present 
problem. When it is said that the shape of a region 
is an intrinsic property, and that it is nonsense to talk 
of it having such and such a shape /r<?;« such and such 
another region, this is true only of geometrical shape. 
If an area is geometrically circular it is so intrinsically, 
and there is an end of the matter. But, since geo- 
metrical shape and sensible form must always be 
distinguished, it does not follow that the sensible form 
of an area is an intrinsic property of it. It may be that 
one and the same area is "informed" by one sensible 
form from one place and by a different sensible form 
from another place. The relation of " informing " may 
be irreducibly triadic, as we have suggested that the 
relation of "pervading" is. If this be so, it may be 
that it is only from one place or one series of places 
that an area with a certain geometrical shape is informed 
by that sensible form which has the same name as the 
geometrical shape. A like distinction will have to be 
drawn between geometrical and physical size. The geo- 
metrical size of a region will be an intrinsic property 
of it ; but the sensible size may be a property which it 
only has from another region. It will of course be just 
as necessary to distinguish tactual form from geometrical 
shape as to distinguish visual form from geometrical 
shape. But there may be good reasons for holding 
that tactual form is a safer indication of geometrical 
shape than is visual form. 

There is every reason to believe that the visual form 
which informs a certain external region from a certain 
region of projection is causally determined by events 
which are physically contained within the region of 
projection. The determining factors would seem to be 
the geometrical shape and size of the part of the retina 
affected by light, and traces in the brain and nervous 
system left by past visual and tactual situations. Here 
again it seems to me that we cannot be sure that the 
mind does not play an essential part, if not as an inde- 



174 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

pendently necessary condition, yet perhaps as a remote 
and dependently necessary condition for the original 
formation and association of the traces. 

I have now sketched and defended to the best of my 
ability the Multiple Inherence Theory. It is time to ask 
ourselves: "How much of that primitive belief which 
is an essential part of every perceptual situation would 
be left standing if we accepted this theory?" Under 
favourable circumstances, i.e., when we should commonly 
be held to be seeing a not too distant object by direct 
vision through a colourless homogeneous medium, we 
could go thus far with common-sense. We could hold 
(i) that the visual situations of a number of observers 
who say that they are seeing the same object really do 
contain a common objective constituent, viz., a certain 
region of Space outside their bodies. (2) That this same 
region of Space is the common objective constituent of the 
visual and tactual situations of an observer who would 
be said to be seeing and touching the same object. (3) 
That this region really is pervaded now by those sensible 
qualities and informed by those sensible forms which 
each observer can detect by careful inspection in the 
objective constituent of his perceptual situations. (4) 
That this region really does physically contain a set 
of microscopic physical events (movements of molecules, 
vibrations of electrons, etc.) which are the dependently 
necessary conditions for the pervasion of this region by 
these sensible qualities from the places now occupied by 
the observers' bodies. This is as far as we could go in 
agreement with common-sense. We should have to 
differ from common-sense, even in the cases which are 
most favourable to its beliefs, in the following points : 
(i) It believes that the colours which it sees are quite 
literally spread out over the surfaces of the physical objects 
which it sees and touches. In view of the facts about 
mirror-images, etc., we can admit only that colours per- 
vade certain regions of Space. The latter may or may 
not contain those microscopic physical things and events 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 175 

which are the dependently necessary conditions of the 
pervasion of this region by this colour. Even when 
this is so, i.e., when there is an emitting as well as a 
pervaded region and the two coincide, we cannot say 
that the microscopic events and objects have the colour ; 
we caiTsay^nly that the region which contains them is 
pervaded by the colour. (2) Common-sense believes 
that the pervasion of anything by a colour is a two- 
term relation between this thing and this colour. In 
view of the fact that the whole of the top of the same 
penny may appear brown to me and yellow to you, who 
have taken santonin, we cannot admit this. If we wish 
to hold that this one surface really is the common 
objective constituent of your visual situation and of 
mine, and that it really has the colours which it seems 
to you and me on careful inspection to have, we must 
hold that the sensible pervasion of a region by a colour 
is at least a three-term relation. It must involve an 
essential reference to a region of projection as well 
as to the pervaded region and the pervading colour. 
(3) Common -sense believes that the independently 
necessary and sufficient conditions for the pervasion 
of a certain region by a certain colour are contained 
in that region at the time when it is pervaded by 
this colour. It therefore holds that this region would 
be pervaded by this colour at this moment no matter 
what might be ^oing on elsewhere. This cannot be 
accepted. The independently necessary and sufficient 
conditions for the pervasion of a certain region by 
a certain colour are never contained in the pervaded 
region and are always contained in or near the region 
of projection. It is true that, in favourable cases, 
the dependently necessary conditions for this pervasion 
may have been contained in the pervaded region ; viz., 
when there is an emitting region and it coincides with 
the pervaded region. But, in the first place, there may 
be no emitting region at all. (Cf. the visual situations 
of dreams, or the case of the drunkard and his pink 




176 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

rats.) Secondly, there may be an emitting region, but 
it may be quite remote from the pervaded region. (Cf. 
mirror-images and aberration.) And lastly, even when 
there is an emitting region and it coincides with the 
pervaded region, common-sense is always wrong about 
the date of the relevant physical events in this region. 
It always assumes that they are contemporary with the 
pervasion, whereas they are always earlier and may be 
earlier by thousands of years. The net result of all 
this is that there is the strongest reason to believe that 
no region would be pervaded by any colour unless 
some other region contained a living body with a suit- 
able brain and nervous system functioning properly. 
To the question: '*Are things really coloured?" we 
can make the following answers on the present theory- 
(i) Colour is not logically an intrinsic quality of any- 
thing. Its nature is such that it can pervade one place 
only from another place. We may express this by 
saying that it is a genuine characteristic, but that it 
is a "multiply-inherent" one. "To be coloured" is 
a characteristic which is logically of the same kind as 
"to be envied." (ii) Things are not coloured, in the 
sense that their colour is a primitive and causally inde- 
pendent characteristic of them ; or in the sense that it 
is directly determined by their intrinsic characteristics. 
The colour which pervades a region is directly deter- 
mined, not by the physical contents ofrthat region, but 
by the physical contents of a different region. A certain 
region really is pervaded by a certain colour from a 
certain other region if and only if the latter contains 
a suitable brain and nervous system, functioning pro- 
perly. I express this fact by saying that the colour of 
a region from a place genuinely pervades it, but is 
"causally adventitious " to it. (iii) A region may con- 
tain such microscopic physical events and objects that 
a certain shade of a certain colour would pervade it 
from any region which is near enough, z/"the latter were 
occupied by a normal brain and nervous system in 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 177 

normal working order. I express this by saying that 
this region has such and such a ''potential colour." 
(iv) If it be asked whether my previous statements imply 
that colours are ''mind-dependent", I answer as follows. 
The pervasion of a certain place by a certain colour from 
a certain region of projection is not dependent on this 
colour being perceived by the mind which animates 
the organism that occupies the region of projection. 
Nothing depends for its existence on being perceived. 
But it is conceivable that the same events in the brain 
and nervous system have two effects, viz., that they 
cause a certain distant place to be pervaded from the 
region of projection by a certain colour, and that they 
cause the mind which animates the organism in the 
region of projection to perceive this colour. If this 
were so, the colour could not pervade the external 
place from the region of projection without being per- 
ceived by the mind which animates the organism in 
the region of projection. But it seems to me most 
unlikely that the bodily conditions which cause the 
colour to inhere are identical with the bodily conditions 
which cause the mind to perceive ; and there is certainly 
no evidence for such a view. If the two sets of con- 
ditions be not identical, it is logically possible that a 
colour should pervade a place from a region of pro- 
jection without being perceived by the mind which 
animates the organism in this region of projection. 
Whether this in fact ever happens is a question to be 
decided by empirical considerations. We must re- 
member, however, that a colour might be in part mind- 
dependent without being dependent on the particular 
mental event of being perceived. As I have said, it 
seems_tQ_me_likely that some of the remotejconditions 
of the characteristics of the objective constituents _of 
visual situations are mental ; and it is quite possible 
that some of their immediate conditions are also mental. 
It is, e.g.^ quite arguable that the sensible form and 
size and distance of objective constituents is in part 

M 






178 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

determined by our predominant interests and beliefs 
at the moment. 

It is evident, then, that the Theory of Multiple In- 
herence, though it allows us to keep some parts of the 
primitive belief which is part of every perceptual 
situation, requires us to modify other parts very pro- 
foundly in the case of visual situations. We shall 
find that the other alternatives are equally upsetting 
to common-sense. To them I now turn. 

{a, /3) Multiple Relation Theory of Appearing. I shall 
be able to deal much more briefly with this and the 
third alternative, because I have brought out in the 
last section most of the important facts which must be 
recognised by any satisfactory theory. On any theory 
we must recognise that the independently necessary 
and sufficient conditions of the apparent characteristics 

( of the objective constituents of perceptual situations are 

■ contained in or near the place occupied by the per- 
cipient's body ; that there may be no external emitting 
region ; that, if there is one, it may be remote from the 

(" region which these characteristics apparently pervade ; 

i and that, even if the two regions coincide, the date of 
] apparent pervasion is later than the date of emission. 
There is a close formal analogy between the present 
theory and the one discussed in the last section. Both 
of them have to assume a fundamental relation which is 
at least triadic. The Multiple Inherence Theory sup- 
poses that colours inhere triadically in places from 
places ; and that sensible forms triadically inf6rm 
regions from regions. The Multiple Relation Theory 
of Appearing assumes that, if a colour really did inhere 
in anything, it would inhere dyadically, as common- 
sense supposes. But it assumes a fundamental relation 
of "appearing", which must be at least triadic. Thus 
it assumes, as logically possible, two diff"erent kinds of 
proposition about characteristics like colour, shape, etc. 
One is of the form "This is red" ; the other is of the 
form "This looks red from here". And, in order to 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 179 

deal with the known facts, it has to assume that the 
objective constituent of a visual situation can seem from flyCT? 
a place to have characteristics which are other than ' -t 
and incompatible with the characteristics which it does_i 
have. If the top of a penny literally has a certain 
colour dyadically, it can have only one shade of one 
colour. But it certainly seems to have a number of 
different shades of the same colour, and may even seem 
to have a number of different colours, from different 
places occupied by different observers. Hence, if a , 
penny literally and dyadically possesses a colour, the ! 
colour which it has must differ from all but one of the ; 
colours or shades which it seems to have ; and, it may ( 
differ from all of them. Whilst, if it does not literally 1 
and dyadically possess any colour, it is still plainer that ( 
it seems to have characteristics which it does not in 
fact have. The same remarks apply to shape, size, and 
position. On this theory then we may be acquainted 
in a perceptual situation with a spatio-temporal part 
of a certain physical object which we are said to be 
perceiving. But we learn only about the characteristics 
which it seems to have ; and the more carefully we in- 
spect the objective constituent the more we learn of its 
apparent properties only. And it is certain that it either 
does not actually have properties of this kind at all ; 
or that, if it does, the apparent and the real properties 
can be identical only in one specially favoured per- 
ceptual situation. And there is of course nothing in 
any particular perceptual situation, taken by itself, to 
tell us that in it and it alone the apparent and the real 
characteristics of the objective constituent are identical. 
Let us now consider the points of difference between 
this theory and the one which we discussed before. 
Both theories allow that, under suitable conditions, it 
may be true that there is a common objective constituent 
to the visual situations of a number of observers who 
say that they are '* seeing the same object". Both 
allow that there is, under suitable conditions, a common 



i8o MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

objective constituent to the visual and the tactual situa- 
tions of an observer who says that he is "seeing and 
feeling the same object". And both allow, that, under 
suitable conditions, this common objective constituent 
may be literally a spatio-temporal part of the object 
which the various observers say that they are ''seeing 
and feeling ". But, at this point, each has to diverge 
from common - sense in a different direction. The 
Multiple Inherence Theory allows that the objective 
constituent really does have those characteristics which 
it seems on careful inspection by each observer to have. 
^^^ But it can allow this only by supposing that these 

-'-*/ characteristics inhere in the objective constituent in a 

way never contemplated by common-sense, viz., triadi- 
cally. The Multiple Relation Theory of Appearing 
allows that, z/ the objective constituent did have such 
characteristics as it seems to have, they would inhere 
in it in the ordinary dyadic way which common-sense 
recognises. But it can allow this only by supposing 
that most, if not all, of the determinate characteristics 
which the objective constituent seems on careful in- 
spection to have do not in fact inhere in it. And both 
theories, as I have said, have to depart altogether from 
common-sense when they pass from purely logical to 
causal considerations. The conditions which immedi- 
ately determine what colour, sensible form, etc., the 
objective constituent shall have (triadically) on the first 
theory, or shall seem to have on the second, are con- 
tained in or near the place where the observer is, and 
not in or near the place where the objective constituent 
is on the first theory or seems to be on the second. 
And the remote and dependently necessary conditions, 
in many cases, are neither in nor near the latter place. 

{b) The Sensum Theory. Poor dear Common-sense 
has not done very well out of the two types of theory 
which were constructed for its special benefit. Let 
us now consider the third possible alternative. This 
theory allows that the objective constituents of per- 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER i8i 

ceptual situations really do have all those positive a, ^A^^ 
characteristics which they seem on careful inspection ^ 
to have. And it allows that these characteristics inhere 
in these objective constituents in the straightforward 
dyadic way in which common-sense supposes them to 
do. But, in admitting this much, it is then forced 
to depart from common-sense. It cannot admit that 
the visual situations of a number of observers, who 
say that they are ''seeing the same object", contain a 
common objective constituent. It cannot admit that, 
when a man says that he is "seeing and feeling the 
same object", there is in general a common objective 
constituent to his visual and his tactual situations. 
And it cannot admit that, when we say that we are 
"seeing a certain physical object", the objective con- 
stituent of our visual situation is in general a spatio- 
temporal part of the physical object which we say that 
we are "seeing". On this theory, then, the objective I 
constituents of most, if not all, perceptual situations \ 
cannot be spatio - temporal parts of physical objects, i 
No doubt they are really extended ; they really last ) 
for so long ; they really have certain shapes, sizes, 
colours, etc.; and some at least of them stand in spatial 
and temporal relations to each other. But they are 
not, in any plain straightforward sense, in the one 
Physical Space in which physical objects are supposed 
to be; and between pairs of them which are connected 
with different observers there are no simple and straight- 
forward spatial or temporal relations. The objective 
constituents of perceptual situations are, on this view, 
particular existents of a peculiar kind ; they are not 
physical, as we have seen ; and there is no reason to 
suppose that they are either states of mind or existenti- 
ally mind-dependent. In having spatial characteristics, 
colours, etc., they resemble physical objects, as ordinarily 
conceived ; but in their privacy and their dependence 
on the body, if not the mind, of the observer they are 
more like mental states. I give the name of "sensa" 



i82 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

to the objective constituents of perceptual situations, on 
the supposition that they are not literally parts of the 
physical object which we are said to be " perceiving", 
and that they are transitory particulars of the peculiar 
kind which I have just been describing. And I call the 
theory which assumes the existence of such particulars 
" The Sensum Theory ". 

The Sensum Theory is at once faced with the question : 
" What is the relation between the objective constituent 
of a perceptual situation and the physical object which 
we are said to perceive in this situation?" On the two 
previous theories it was possible to admit that, in favour- 
able cases, the objective constituent of the perceptual 
situation was quite literally a spatio-temporal part of 
the perceived object. This cannot be admitted on the 
Sensum Theory ; the relation must be less direct and 
more complicated than common-sense believes. On 
the Sensum Theory the proposition: '*The physical 
object which I am now perceiving appears to have the 
determinate characteristic ^" can be analysed up to a 
certain point. The analysis would run as follows. 
This proposition means: "There is a certain sensum 
s which is the objective constituent of this perceptual 
situation. This actually has the characteristic c which 
I can detect in it by inspection, and it has this char- 
acteristic in a straightforward dyadic way. And there 
is a certain physical object ^, to which this sensum has 
a certain relation R which it has to no other physical 
object. In virtue of this relation the sensum s is said to 
be *'an appearance of" the physical object o. When 
we say that several people perceive the same physical 
object and the same part of it, we must mean, on this 
theory, that their several perceptual situations contain 
as objective constituents the sensa s,^ s^^ . . . etc., and 
that all of them are appearances of the same physical 
object 0. It is plain that these analyses contain an 
unanalysed factor, viz., the relation R of ''being an 
appearance of". About this relation we can say the 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 183 

following- things, (i) It is not the relation of spatio- 
temporal part to spatio-temporal whole, (ii) It is a 
many-one relation, i.e., many different sensa can be 
appearances of one physical object, and even of pre- 
cisely the same part of this object ; but one sensum . 
cannot, in this sense, be an appearance of several 
physical objects. There is a certain physical object 
and a certain part of it which can be called ^'^ the part 
of the physical object which has this sensum as an 
appearance ". At this point the Sensum Theory can 
take one of two courses. It may profoundly modify 
the common-sense notion of physical objects; e.g., it 
may hold with Berkeley that what are manifested by 
sensa are volitions in God's mind ; or with Leibniz that 
what are manifested by sensa are collections of minds ; 
or with Russell that the sensa which are objective 
constituents of perceptual situations are a small selection 
out of certain larger groups of interrelated sensa, and 
that these groups are the only physical objects that 
there are. Or, on the other hand, it may try to keep 
as near to the common-sense notion of physical objects 
as possible. The latter course leads to what I call the 
'* Critical Scientific Theory ", which is the tacit assump- 
tion of natural scientists, purged of its inconsistencies, 
and stated in terms of the Sensum Theory. According 
to which of these alternative views of the nature of 
physical objects we choose we shall take a different 
view of the relation R between a sensum and the 
physical object of which it is an appearance. E.g., on 
such a theory as Russell's the relation R is that of 
class-membership. To say that s is an appearance of \ 
will mean that c* is a certain group of suitably inter- ) 
related sensa, and that s is one of this group. On such I 
a theory as Berkeley's the relation R is that of one part 
of a total effect to the cause of this total effect. The total 
effect is all the sensa which would be said to be appear- 
ances of a certain thing at a certain time. The cause 
is a certain volition in God's mind. 



i84 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 



J 




2 



Co7mnon-sense and the Three Types of Theory. We 
have seen in what respects the j5rst two theories agree 
with the primitive beliefs of common-sense, and in what 
respects they differ from these. Let us now raise the 
same question about the Sensum Theory. It agrees 
with common-sense in the belief that the objective 
constituents of perceptual situations really do have, in 
a straightforward dyadic way, all those characteristics 
which they seem on careful inspection to have. But 
it has to assume that these objective constituents are 
particular existents of a peculiar kind, being neither 
mental nor physical. And, although it is possible for 
it to hold that there may be physical objects in the 
ordinary sense of the word, it cannot admit that the 
objective constituents of most perceptual situations are 
in fact spatio-temporal parts of them. It is thus faced 
with a problem which does not arise for the other 
theories ; viz., to give some account of the relation 
between sensa, which are objective constituents of 
perceptual situations, and the physical objects which 
are supposed to be manifested by these sensa. In order 
to give a plausible account of this relation the theory 
may be forced to depart very far indeed from the 
common-sense notion of a physical object, as has 
happened in Russell's theory. 

I think that it is now abundantly evident that very 
little can be done for common-sense. One theory 
requires a kind of inherence which shocks it ; the 
second theory asks it to believe that the objective 
constituents of most, and perhaps of all, perceptual 
situations seem on careful inspection to have character- 
istics other than and incompatible with those which 
they actually do have ; and the third theory insists that 
the objective constituents of perceptual situations are 
seldom if ever spatio-temporal parts of the physical 
objects which it claims to be perceiving, and presents 
it with a peculiar kind of existent which is neither 
physical nor mental but seems to have one leg in each 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 185 

realm. And these results are not due to the wilful 
perversity of philosophers debauched with learning. 
They are conclusions to which we are forced most un- 
willingly by a careful consideration of those facts which 
common-sense ignores. I think we may say with 
perfect confidence that, whilst none of the philosophic 
theories may be true, the primitive belief which accom- 
panies all perceptual situations is certainly to a very 
large extent false ; and that there is not the faintest 
chance of rehabilitating it. If we reflect on the history 
and the probable prehistory of human perception, I 
think we can see that there is nothing in the least 
surprising in this fact. Perception must have grown 
up in close connexion with action ; and the primitive 
belief which forms part of the perceptual situation is,^ 
on the whole, perfectly satisfactory for practical purposes. 
It is exactly the belief that a being would naturally 
reach if he ignored abnormal cases like mirror-images ; 
neglected minor differences, such as we find on careful 
inspection, between the objective constituents of the 
perceptual situations of different observers who are said 
to be perceiving the same object by the same or by 
different senses ; and knew nothing about the velocity 
of light or the part played in perception by his own 
brain and nervous system. Now, a being devoted to 
practical ends naturally would ignore comparatively 
rare cases, such as mirror-images and other optical 
illusions. He naturally would neglect the minor 
differences between the characteristics of various ob- 
jective constituents, so long as they all guided him to 
the right place and enabled him to co-operate satis- 
factorily with his fellows, to avoid danger, and to get 
what he wanted. From the nature of the case he could 
not suspect the velocity of light, which needs the most 
delicate experiments to detect it and a stroke of genius 
even to think of it. And, as he always carries his brain 
and nervous system about with him wherever he goes, 
he would naturally tend to ignore the part which it 



/ 



( 



i86 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

plays in perception ; just as a person who always wears 
glasses forgets that he has them on and that he could 
not see properly without them. These causes, which 
must certainly have operated in the development of 
perception, have produced precisely the kind of primitive 
belief which we might have expected them to produce. 
And, when we take into account all the factors which 
were ignored in the development of this belief, but which 
are none the less real, we naturally find that the belief 
is far too simple-minded to deal with the extremely 
. complex situation. It is, therefore^inniy opinion, simply 
^yL T^ waste of time to try to rehabilitate naive realism ; or to 

regard it as any serious objection to a theory of the 
external world and our perception of it that it is 
''shocking to common-sense". Any theory that can 
possibly fit the facts is certain to shock common-sense 
somewhere ; and in face of the facts we can only advise 
1 common-sense to follow the example of Judas Iscariot, 
and " go out and hang itself". 

We may now ask ourselves whether there is anything 
to choose between the three kinds of theory, (i) It 
seems to me that the Theory of Multiple Inherence, as 
stated, presupposes a doctrine of Absolute Space-Time, 
as a kind of fundamental stuff or matrix. It is quite 
certain that the objective constituents of perceptual 
situations are particular existents, and not mere universal 
qualities. And it is quite certain that, if objective con- 
stituents of visual situations are really situated where 
they appear to be, as the theory assumes, they are often 
situated in places which are not occupied by matter in 
any ordinary sense of the word. This is often true, 
e.g., of mirror-images. Now, a mirror-image is as good 
a particular as the objective constituent of a more normal 
visual situation. Whence does it get its particularity? 
On the present theory we must say that it is a particular 
because it is a certain region of Space, pervaded from 
a certain other region of Space at a certain date and 
for a certain time by a certain shade of colour. Now 



y< 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 187 

this surely presupposes Space-Time as a kind of omni- 
present and eternal substance, every region of which 
is ready to be pervaded by some sensible quality from 
some other region. I do not of course suggest that this 
theory must suppose that Absolute Space-Time is the 
only substance in the material realm. The regions from 
which colours pervade other regions are occupied in a 
non-triadic sense by certain physical and physiological 
events and objects. And the emitting regions are also 
occupied in a non-triadic sense by electrons, atoms, 
molecules, etc., and their movements. It is not necessary 
for the theory to hold, e.g.^ that an electron is just a 
certain region of Space-Time dyadically pervaded by 
some physical quality. But, whilst it is not necessary 
for the theory to hold that Absolute Space-Time is the 
only substance in the material realm, it is necessary for 
it to hold that Absolute Space-Time is a substance and 
that the particularity of the objective constituents of 
some, if not all, perceptual situations is the particularity 
of some particular region of Space-Time. This region 
is marked out by being pervaded by such and such a 
sensible quality from such and such a region of pro- 
jection ; and a region thus pervaded and marked out 
is, on the present theory, that kind of particular which 
we call ''an objective constituent of a perceptual 
situation ". 

Now, I do not for a moment suggest that a theory is 
necessarily wrong because it presupposes the doctrine 
of Absolute Space-Time as the common matrix of all 
objective constituents of perceptual situations. But I 
do think that such a theory starts with rather heavy 
liabilities, and I do suspect that it has not carried its 
analysis far enough. 

(2) It seems to me that the Theory of a Multiple 
Relation of Appearing is liable to a similar objection. 
Suppose I hold up a finger in front of a plain mirror, 
so that I can see both the finger and the mirror-image 
of it at the same time. Then it is quite certain that the 



i88 MIND*S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

characteristic colour of my finger seems to pervade the 
surfaces of two distinct physical objects, one in front of 
the mirror and the other at the back of it. It is also 
quite certain that the characteristic sensible form of my 
finger seems to inform two distinct physical objects. 
Now we have every reason to believe that only one 
physical object is appearing in this situation. It is 
therefore not enough for the theory to hold that some 
part of a physical object which is an objective con- 
stituent of a visual situation may seem to have a 
characteristic which it does not in fact have. It must 
also assert that what is in fact one physical object in 
one place may seem to be two physical objects in two 
places at some distance apart. Now one may admit 
that a certain particular might seem to have a 
characteristic which differs from and is incompatible 
with the characteristics which it does have. But I find 
it almost incredible that one particular extended patch 
should seem to be two particular extended patches at a 
distance apart from each other. There is of course no 
difficulty in holding that the same shade of colour and 
the same sensible form may appear to inhere in two 
places at once, and that one of these places is physically 
filled whilst the other is physically empty ; provided 
you hold that colours and sensible forms seem to inhere, 
not in physical objects, but in regions of Space. The 
appearance of two particulars is then accounted for by 
the fact that there really are two particulars, viz., the 
two distinct regions of Space in which the same colour 
and sensible form seem to inhere at the same time. 
But this presupposes Absolute Space-Time as a sub- 
stantial matrix whose regions are ready to appear to 
have such and such characteristics from other regions 
which are suitably filled. And this was the objection 
to the Theory of Multiple Inherence. 

I think we must say then that, in view of mirror- 
images, aberration, etc., the Multiple Relation Theory 
of Appearing must hold either that what is in fact a 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 189 

single extended particular can seem to be two distinct 
extended particulars at a distance apart from each 
other; or that sensible qualities and forms have the 
relation of "appearing to inhere in" to regions of 
Absolute Space -Time, and not to the surfaces of 
physical objects. The first alternative is difficult to 
believe ; the second presupposes Absolute Space-Time, 
which is probably a sign of inadequate analysis. 

(3) It is commonly objected to the Sensum Theory 
that it leaves the existence of physical objects merely 
hypothetical ; that it introduces entities of a peculiar 
kind, whose status in the world and relations to physical 
objects, if such there be, are very difficult to under- 
stand ; and that it involves a very odd kind of causation, 
which is almost creation out of nothing. In this section 
I shall content myself with showing that the Sensum 
Theory is in these respects very little worse off than the 
other two alternatives. It is no doubt true that sensa 
cannot be parts, in the literal and straightforward sense, 
of physical objects ; and that, on most forms of the 
theory, the relation between the two is very indirect. 
As against this it must be said that the other theories 
have been found to involve Absolute Space-Time. Now 
I think that the Sensum Theory can dispense with this. 
The other theories need this because they require some 
kind of substance for sensible qualities to inhere in or 
to seem to inhere in. And, since in the case of mirror- 1 

images, etc., this substance can hardly be the surfaces ^ 

of physical objects, there seems nothing left for it to be ; 
except various regions of Absolute Space-Time. Now 
the Sensum Theory starts with particulars, for each 
sensum is a particular having those sensible qualities 
and that sensible form which it seems on careful 
inspection to have. It therefore does not need to 
assume Absolute Space-Time, in the sense of a kind of 
substantial matrix whose various regions stand ready 
to be pervaded by various sensible qualities and in- 
formed by various sensible forms. It can accept a 



igo MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

relational theory of Physical Space-Time ; and this 
certainly seems to me to be a point in its favour. It can 
start with the sensible spatio-temporal relations of sensa 
in the same sense-field or the same sense-history, and 
thus exemplify the general notion of a Space or a Space- 
Time of interrelated particulars. Then, by considering 
the correlations between sensa in different sense-fields 
and different sense-histories, and by taking account of 
the connexion of these with the movements of the 
observer's body, it can coM^izuct in thought the concept 
of a single Physical Space -Time. This Physical 
Space-Time will be the system of all physical events 
interrelated in the same kind of way as are sensa in a 
single sense-history. The relations in the two kinds of 
whole differ in detail, but there is enough analogy 
between them to justify us in regarding the world of 
physical events as a single spatio-temporal system 
having a certain kind of " geo-chronometry ". This is 
the justification of the notion of Absolute Space-Time ; 
but it is no justification for treating it as a substantial 
matrix, as the other theories have to do. I have dealt 
with the details of this synthesis to the best of my 
ability in my Scientific Thought^ and I must refer the 
reader to the Second Part of that book for such justifica- 
tion as I can give for the above dogmatic statements. 

Let us now consider the objection that the Sensum 
Theory makes physical objects entirely hypothetical, 
mere Dinge-an-Sich. I shall deal directly with this 
question in the next section. Here I shall merely 
consider whether the other theories are much less 
liable to the same objection. I cannot see that they 
are. I profess to have proved earlier in this chapter [a) 
that, even if there had been no delusive perceptual 
situations, it is certain from the nature of the case that 
no perceptual situation could contain literally as its 
objective constituent the physical object which we are 
said to be perceiving in that situation, (b) That the 
existence of totally delusive situations shows that the 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 191 

objective constituent cannot always be even a spatio- 
temporal part of the physical object which we are said 
to be perceiving. Hence even this modified claim can 
never be accepted at its face-value, since it is made as 
strongly in the perceptual situations which are certainly 
delusive as in those which are not known to be so. 
{c) That, in view of the discrepancies which careful 
inspection discovers between the objective constituents 
of perceptual situations when one observer is said to be 
seeing and touching the same object or when several 
observers are said to be seeing the same object, even 
this modified claim cannot be true except on the very 
special assumptions of the Theory of Multiple Inherence 
or the Theory of a Multiple Relation of Appearing. 
On any view, then, the claims of the individual per- 
ce^ual situation to reveal a certain physical object 
and to guarantee its existence must be attenuated to a 
mere shadow. And, when we come to consider in detail 
the two theories which are able to admit this attenuated 
claim at all, we find that the claim must be pared down 
still more ; as I will now show. 

If the Theory of Multiple Inherence be true, all that 
I can learn from a single perceptual situation is that 
a certain external region of Space, which may or may 
not now contain relevant physical events and objects, 
is at present pervaded by a certain sensible quality 
and informed by a certain sensible form from the place 
where my body now is. If I want to get any further 
than this; to know whether I am perceiving a "real 
object" or only an image; to know what spatial and 
other qualities I may ascribe to it in itself and apart 
from its relation to my organism ; I must do this, if 
at all, by considering the objective constituents of a 
number of different perceptual situations belonging to 
myself and to others, and noting the relations between 
them. And the physical object which I then "know", 
and to which I ascribe these intrinsic characteristics, 
is logically (though not psychologically) just a hypo- 



192 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

thetical entity postulated to explain and systematise 
these correlations. The position is precisely similar 
if we adopt the Theory of a Multiple Relation of 
Appearing. All that I can learn from a single per- 
ceptual situation is that a certain surface, which seems 
to be a spatio-temporal part of a physical object, seems 
to have such and such a shape, position and sensible 
quality. If I want to know whether it is part of a 
physical object ; or what kind of physical object this 
is ; or what shape, position and intrinsic qualities it 
actually has ; I must do this, if at all, by the same 
method of comparison and correlation as on the 
Multiple Inherence Theory. The physical object which 
I am said to "perceive", and the properties which I 
ascribe to it, are again logically (though not psycho- 
logically) in the position of hypothetically postulated 
entities. 

It is of course open to the supporter of the Multiple 
Inherence Theory to assert that there may be one 
specially favourable position {e.g.^ when one is '' look- 
ing straight down on a penny from the distance of 
most distinct vision ") in which the geometrical shape 
and the intrinsic colour of the penny are directly 
revealed, instead of the colour which it has from a 
place and the sensible form which inheres in it from 
a place. And it is open to the supporter of the Theory 
of a Multiple Relation of Appearing to assert that there 
may be one specially favourable position in which the 
qualities which a physical object has^ and not merely 
those which it seems to have, are revealed directly to 
the percipient. On such assertions I have the follow- 
ing comments to make, (i) They are in the highest 
degree unlikely. We are asked to believe that in 
one special position the physical, physiological, and 
psychical mechanism produces an utterly different result 
from that which it produces in all other positions, no 
matter how close to this specially favoured one. (ii) 
There is nothing in the nature of any perceptual situa- 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 193 

tion, taken by itself, to reveal to us that it differs in 
this remarkable way from all the rest. The unique 
perceptual situation, if such there be, does not come 
visibly " trailing clouds of glory behind it". It would 
have to be discovered to have this property by com- 
paring it and its objective constituent with other per- 
ceptual situations and theirs, (iii) It is just as possible, 
logically, for the Sensum Theory to make this pre- 
posterous claim as for the other two theories. It might 
assert that, from one specially favourable position, the 
objective constituent is literally a part of the physical 
object, and that the qualities which we detect in it are 
literally those of the physical object ; whilst, in all other 
situations, the objective constituent is a mere sensum. 
I think I may fairly conclude that the objection that 
on the Sensum Theory the perceived physical object 
becomes a mere Ding-an-Sich applies with almost equal 
force, if it applies at all, to the other theories. 

Let us now consider the objection that the Sensum 
Theory involves a very odd kind of causation, which 
is almost creation of particulars out of nothing. I will 
first show that the other theories also involve very odd 
kinds of causation. The Theory of Multiple Inherence 
involves instantaneous action at a distance. When a 
certain process goes on in my brain and nervous system 
a certain remote region of Space becomes pervaded by 
a certain colour from where I am. So far as we know 
this is an instantaneous process. The date of pervasion 
is identical with the date of the events in my brain and 
nervous system, though the pervaded place may be 
millions of miles from the region of projection. And 
nothing that may be physically occupying the inter- 
vening space is relevant to this process of pervasion ; 
so that we cannot compare this action at a distance 
with pushing a distant body and making it move in- 
stantaneously by means of a rigid rod. There is in 
fact, so far as I know, no analogy elsewhere to the kind 
of causation which the Theory of Multiple Inherence 



194 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

has to postulate. I do not make this an objection to 
the theory ; but I do say that it is in no position to cast 
stones at the Sensum Theory for having to postulate 
an odd kind of causation. Exactly the same remarks 
apply, mutatis mutandis^ to the Theory of a Multiple 
Relation of Appearing. Here processes in the brain 
and nervous system instantaneously cause certain 
qualities to seem to inhere in places where they do 
not in fact inhere ; or else they make one distant 
particular seem to be two distant particulars. 

I will now consider more directly the special objection 
to the Sensum Theory on the grounds of the peculiar 
kind of causation which it involves. The objection is 
that, if the Sensum Theory be true, physical and physio- 
logical processes cveate certain particular existents, viz., 
sensa, which do not form parts of the history of any 
physical object. Now it is said that we can understand 
that a process in one substance may cause a certain 
quality to characterise the next phase in the history 
of an already existing substance ; but we cannot under- 
stand the kind of creation of particulars which the 
Sensum Theory requires. To this I answer (i) that 
there are certain forms of the Sensum Theory which 
do not involve this creative kind of causation but only 
a selective kind. According to some theories physical 
objects consist of groups of sensa, and a physical object 
is perceived when a certain sensum of a certain group 
becomes the objective constituent of a perceptual situa- 
tion. On this type of theory the function of the 
physical, physiological, and psychical mechanism of 
perception is not to create sensa, but merely to select 
from a group of pre-existing sensa a certain one and 
to make it the objective constituent of a certain per- 
ceptual situation. I cannot, however, lay much stress 
on this answer, because I do not think that a purely 
selective form of the Sensum Theory is plausible in 
view of all the facts. I have explained my reasons 
for this in my Scientific Thought^ and will not repeat 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 195 

them here, (ii) The more direct answer to the present 
objection is the following. A sensum is not something 
that exists in isolation ; it is a differentiated part of a 
bigger and more enduring whole, viz., of a sense-field 
which is itself a mere cross-section of a sense-history. 
Suppose, e.g., that I am aware of a red flash. This is 
a differentiation of my total visual field at the moment ; 
and my total visual field at the moment joins up with 
and continues my earlier visual fields, forming together 
with them my visual sense-history. The sense-history 
is a continuant ; a kind of substance, though not a 
physical substance. And the new sensum is not an 
isolated particular, but an occurrent in this peculiar 
kind of continuant. Thus the causation involved in the 
Sensum Theory, though very different from physical 
causation, is not the sudden creation of a perfectly 
isolated and loose particular out of nothing. It is, to 
say the least of it, no odder than the causation involved 
in the other two theories. 

The upshot of this discussion seems to me to be that, 
on the whole, there are no greater objections tothT 
Sensum Theory than to the other theories, and that 
the offieF^theories have no positive advantages over 
the Sensum Theory when carefully considered. And, | 
as the Sensum Theory does not require to assume ■ 
Absolute Space-Time as a pre-existing matrix, whilst 
the other theories apparently do, the balance of advant- 
age seems to be slightly on the side of the Sensum 
Theory. It remains now to ask: "How much of the 
common-sense notion of a physical object can we keep ; 
and with what degree of confidence can we believe that 
there are things which answer to the various parts of 
the common-sense notion of a physical object?" 

In what Sense can we accept Physical Objects ? If we .» -j^ 

consider the common-sense notion of a physical object '1*^ 

we can divide it into four logically independent parts, 
(i) It is supposed to be more permanent than the per- 
ceptual situation. The latter is held to be transitory 



196 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

as compared with the former, (ii) It is supposed to be 
public to a number of observers, and to be capable of 
exhibiting different aspects of itself to different senses 
of the same observer, (iii) It is supposed to be literally 
extended in Space, having a bounding surface of a 
certain geometrical size and shape, and standing in 
straightforward spatial relations to other physical objects, 
(iv) The objective constituents of the tactual and visual 
situations in which it is said to be perceived are held 
to be literally parts of its surface. We have seen reason 
to reject (iv). The first two are accepted by nearly 
every one. The average scientist who thinks about the 
matter accepts the first three and is in an inextricable 
muddle about the fourth. Berkeley, Leibniz, and Russell 
accept the first two and reject the rest. It is therefore 
reasonable to think that there is better evidence for (i) 
and (ii) than for (iii) and (iv) ; or at any rate that there 
is less to be said against the first pair than against the 
last pair. 

The evidence for (i) is of the following kind. For 
long periods of time whenever I look in a certain 
direction I am aware of very much the same kind of 
objective constituent, e.g.^ a visual appearance of my 
table. Now merely looking in this direction from this 
place is not a sufficient condition for this kind of objective 
constituent to appear. For sometimes {e.g.^ when my 
room is being spring-cleaned) I may look in this 
direction with quite different results. On the other 
hand, looking in this direction from this place is a 
necessary condition, over long periods of time, for 
this objective constituent to appear to me. Now the 
point to notice is that I can fulfil this condition at quite 
arbitrary intervals, and that whenever I do so during a 
long stretch of time I am aware of the same kind of 
objective constituent. The natural interpretation of 
such facts is that there is another and relatively per- 
manent necessary condition on which all these arbitrarily 
initiated perceptual situations depend, and that this 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 197 

determines the likeness between their objective con- 
stituents. This conclusion is supported by three other 
sets of facts. 

(a) When I am not in my room other people may be. 
And they tell me that they have had visual experiences 
very much like those which I have when I am in the 
room and looking in the right direction. This supports 
the view that there is a relatively permanent necessary 
condition, which is independent of my presence. 

(i?) I have continually certain kinds of experiences 
which I ascribe to my own body. Now other people 
tell me that my body appears to them in exactly the 
same way as any other physical object. And I have no 
reason to doubt this, because I know that their bodies 
appear to me in exactly the same way as other physical 
objects. I know from internal sensation that my body 
continues to exist when other people are not seeing or 
touching it ; and I am told by other people that they 
have the same kind of evidence for the continued exist- 
ence of t/iei'r bodies when / am not seeing or touching 
them. I have not this kind 'of direct evidence about 
chairs and tables ; but the analogies in other respects 
between them and human bodies make it reasonable 
for me to treat them in the same way. That is, they \ 
support the view that something which is capable of 
producing a perceptual situation with a characteristic 
kind of objective constituent persists, even when no ^ 
such situation is actually being produced, because the 
other necessary conditions are not being fulfilled. 

(<r) If I look for some time in a certain direction, e.g.^ 
" at my fire ", as we say, I often find a slow and steady 
change in the objective constituents of the successive 
visual situations. If I go out of the room, and, on 
returning after some time, look again in the same 
direction from the same place, I shall again be aware 
of an objective constituent which in the main resembles 
those of which I was aware before. But there will be 
certain differences ; and in general the differences are 



198 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

such as would have been produced by a steady con- 
tinuation of that process of change which I observed 
while I was formerly in the room. Nothing that I can 
detect in myself during the interval accounts for the 
difference between the last objective constituent before 
I went out and the first objective constituent after I 
again came in. So the natural interpretation is that 
the original series of objective constituents depended in 
part on a process outside my body, and that this process 
has gone on further during my absence. 

I do not say that any or all of these arguments 
amount to a knock-down proof of the view that the 
objective constituents of perceptual situations are, in 
many cases, partly dependent on something outside 
the percipient's body and more permanent than them- 
selves. But I do think that, if it be granted that this 
hypothesis has any finite initial probability, such facts 
and arguments do give it a very high final probability. 
And practically all philosophers have accepted this 
much of the common-sense view. 

(ii) The second part of the common-sense view is 
that these relatively permanent and necessary, but not 
sufficient, conditions of perceptual situations are neutral 
as between different percipients. If this merely means 
that one and the same set of permanent conditions 
may co-operate with other conditions which vary from 
observer to observer, and may produce perceptual 
situations with correlated objective constituents, this is 
also highly likely. There are groups of contemporary 
perceptual situations whose objective constituents are 
so related to each other that they are all said to refer to 
the same external object. If we take the case of a 
number of observers who are said to be seeing the top 
of the same penny, we find the following correlations. 
All the observers are looking in such directions that, 
if they moved along them, they would run into each 
other at the same place. In the middle of each of their 
visual fields there is an outstanding patch. All these 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 199 

patches appear to have some shade of brown ; they 
appear to be of different sizes and to have different 
sensible depths in their respective fields. They appear 
to have various shapes, but all these shapes are pro- 
jections of a circle. All the observers will be able to 
become aware of correlated tactual objective constituents, 
if they walk up to the place at which their lines of sight 
intersect. And, as they walk in these directions, each 
will pass through a series of visual situations ; the total 
objective constituent of each situation will be a coloured 
field with a brown patch in the middle of it ; the shapes 
of these patches will all be projections of a circle ; and 
the successive patches of each series will be of diminish- 
ing sensible depth in their respective visual fields, and 
of increasing sensible size and clearness. 

It is hard to resist the conviction that such groups of 
correlated perceptual situations depend on two factors. 
One is a relatively permanent condition, independent 
of the observers and their bodies. The other is a 
condition which varies from observer to observer and 
appears as the position and orientation of the per- 
cipient's body. Moreover, the factor in these perceptual 
situations which seems to be specially closely correlated 
with this common independent condition is the out- 
standing patch which is at the middle of each visual 
field. Suppose that all the observers stand and face as 
before, and that "the penny is replaced by a tennis- 
ball ", as we say. Then there will be a simultaneous 
change in the outstanding central objective constituent 
of all these visual situations. Thus it seems reasonable 
to accept the second part of the common-sense view. 
It is reasonable to hold that the objective constituent in 
a perceptual situation is in many cases determined by 
two sets of conditions. One is specially bound up with 
the percipient and his body ; the other is independent 
of percipients and their bodies. Either can vary without 
the other. Variations of the latter involve correlated 
variations in a certain part of the objective constituents 



200 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

of a whole group of perceptual situations belonging to 
different observers. Variations in the former affect only 
the objective constituents of the perceptual situations of 
a single observer. When many people are said to 
"perceive the same object" we have a group of per- 
ceptual situations determined jointly by a common 
independent condition and by other conditions which 
vary from one observer to another. If this hypothesis 
starts with a finite initial probability, the facts surely 
give it a high final probability. 

(iii) It remains to consider how far the facts make for 
or against the third part of the common-sense view ; 
viz., that these relatively permanent and neutral con- 
ditions of groups of correlated perceptual situations are 
literally extended, having geometrical shapes and sizes, 
and having spatial relations to other things of the same 
kind. Up to the present all that has been established 
is equally compatible with the primitive beliefs of 
common-sense, with the theories of Descartes and the 
natural scientists, and with the speculations of Berkeley, 
of Leibniz, or of Mr Russell. For each of these parties 
admits that such groups of perceptual situations are 
jointly dependent on a condition, which is relatively 
permanent and neutral between the percipients, and a 
variable condition which is specially connected with 
each percipient. For common-sense this neutral and 
relatively permanent condition is an extended physical 
object, of which the objective constituents are literally 
spatio-temporal parts ; the variable conditions simply 
determine which part shall be the objective constituent 
of a particular perceptual situation. For Mr Russell 
the neutral and relatively permanent condition is a 
whole group of correlated sensa ; and the variable con- 
ditions simply determine which member of a certain 
group shall be the objective constituent of a certain 
perceptual situation. These two views thus agree in 
making the variable conditions purely selective; every- 
thing that could become an objective constituent of a 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 201 

perceptual situation exists already, and the variable 
conditions simply select a certain part or a certain 
member from this pre-existing whole and make it the 
objective constituent of a certain perceptual situation. 

The Cartesian, the Leibnitian, and the Berkeleian 
theories may be called creative ; for, as usually stated, 
they assume that the objective constituents do not exist 
out of the perceptual situations. They assume that, 
when both sets of conditions are fulfilled, a sensum of 
a certain kind arises in a certain place in a certain 
sense-field ; but that, when the variable conditions 
specially connected with the observer are not fulfilled, 
no sensum of this kind exists. And of course, on every 
theory except that of Descartes and the scientists, the 
relatively permanent neutral conditions of groups of 
interconnected perceptual situations are extremely un- 
like physical objects, as conceived by common-sense. 
One cannot say, in any literal sense, that God's habits 
of volition, or a colony of unintelligent monads, or a 
group of interrelated sensa, have geometrical shape, 
size, or position. 

Now I have argued that we can never be sure that the 
objective constituents of perceptual situations are liter- 
ally parts of physical objects, as conceived by common- 
sense ; and that we can be practically certain that they 
are not in most cases. The question then is: ''Does 
there remain any reason for accepting the third proposi- 
tion of the common-sense view of physical objects when 
we have rejected the fourth proposition of this view?" 
Descartes, Locke, and the scientists do reject the fourth 
and accept the third. The question is whether this 
is reasonable. Certain general arguments have been 
brought against the reality of spatial qualities and 
relations. If these were valid nothing could literally 
have shape, size, or position. It would follow that 
nothing like the common-sense view of physical objects 
could possibly be true. But, in the first place, all these 
arguments seem to me to be plainly fallacious. Secondly, 



^ 



202 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

if they be valid at all, they must apply, not only to the 
supposed persistent and neutral conditions of perceptual 
situations, but also to the objective constituents of these 
situations themselves. If there be some internal contra- 
diction in the very notion of spatial qualities and rela- 
tions it will be as impossible for the objective constituents 
of perceptual situations to have these qualities or to 
stand in these relations as for anything else to do so. 
Now the objective constituents of visual and tactual 
situations certainly seem on careful inspection to have 
shapes and sizes, and to stand in spatial relations to 
other contents of the same sense-field. Thus anyone 
who accepts these general arguments against the reality 
of spatial qualities and relations must be prepared to 
hold that we are mistaken, and enormously mistaken, 
about the objective constituents of our perceptual situa- 
tions as well as about their neutral and persistent co7idi- 
tions. It is not merely a mistake about details, as it 
would be if something which was really round seemed 
to be elliptical ; it would be a mistake about a funda- 
mental determinable characteristic which seems to 
belong to the objective constituents of all visual and 
tactual situations. As I have said, the arguments 
against the reality of spatial characteristics seem to 
me plainly fallacious ; but, if I could see nothing 
wrong with them, I should still venture to think it 
much more likely that an argument is invalid, though 
it seems to me sound, than that the objective con- 
stituents of visual and tactual situations are unextended, 
though they seem to have shapes, sizes and positions. 
For I know from sad experience that I can be taken 
in by plausible but fallacious arguments, whilst I have 
no reason to think that the objective constituents of my 
tactual and visual situations could seem to have shapes, 
sizes, and positions if they were really unextended. It 
seems to me then to be practically certain that the. 
objective constituents of certain perceptual situations 
do have spatial characteristics. It is therefore possible 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 203 

that their persistent and neutral conditions may also 
have these characteristics.. The only question is '*^ 
whether there is any positive ground for believing ; 
that they do in fact have them. 

The only way to answer such a question is to study 
carefully and in detail the nature of objective con- 
stituents and their correlations. In the notion of 
Physical Space we must distinguish two factors : — 
(a) the general conception of a Spatial whole having 
contents of various shapes and sizes at various places in 
it ; and {d) the special character and contents which are V'YV 'y'-> 
ascribed to Physical Space. I have no doubt that the \ /*' 

general conception of a spatial whole springs from our 
acquaintance with visual fields. Here we do have an 
extended whole of simultaneous parts ; these parts, 
viz., variously coloured outstanding patches, do visibly 
have various shapes and sizes, and do visibly occupy 
various positions within the whole field. The visual field 
then is a spatial whole with which we are acquainted in 
sense-perception, and it is the on/y spatial whole of 
any importance with which we are acquainted. The j / 
physical world, as a spatial whole, is conceived on the ! 
analogy of the visual field. Bodies are analogous to 
outstanding coloured patches. They are conceived to 
have shapes and sizes, as these patches visibly do have 
them ; to occupy various positions in Physical Space, 
as these patches visibly occupy various positions in the 
visual field ; and to be capable of moving about within 
Physical Space, as some of these patches visibly do move 
about within the visual field. 

Given the general conception of a spatial whole, v 
many alternative theories about its detailed structure 
and contents are possible. Our beliefs about the de- 
tailed structure and contents of Physical Space are 
based on experiences of sight, touch, and movement, 
and on the very complicated correlations which these 
are found to have with each other. Experiences of 
movement are interpreted spatially by analogy with the 



r 



^ 



204 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

visual field and the visible movements of coloured 
patches within it, and by means of the correlations 
between the former and the latter. Conversely, the 
general conception of Physical Space, which is based 
on our acquaintance with visual fields, is filled out and 
specified in detail by our experiences of movement. 
The hypothesis that what appears to us as external 
objects and what appears to us as our own bodies are 
extended and stand in spatial relations, in the sense 
explained above, accounts for the correlations between 
objective constituents of perceptual situations and for 
their variations as we move about. And it is difficult 
to see that any alternative hypothesis which does not 
logically reduce to this one will account for such facts. 
About the minuter details of the physical spatio-temporal 
order there is room for much diversity of opinion and 
for much future modification and refinement, as the 
facts adduced by the Theory of Relativity show. But 
this much seems to me to be practically certain, viz., 
that the nature and relations of the persistent and neutral 
conditions of sensa must be interpreted by analogy with 
visual sensa and their relations in the visual sense-field ; 
and that they cannot be interpreted by analogy with 
thoughts or volitions and their relations within a mind 
(as Berkeley held), or with the relations of minds within 
a society (which, to put it very crudely, was Leibniz's 
view). 

Thus, with suitable interpretations, I accept the first 
three clauses of the common-sense belief about physical 
objects. The fourth clause I have to reject, for reasons 
which I have tried to make plain in the earlier part of 
this Chapter. 

The Status of so-called ^^ Secondary Qualities ^\ It is 
of course part of the common-sense view that physical 
objects literally have colours, temperatures, etc. This 
is a logical consequence of the view that the objective 
constituents of perceptual situations literally have the 
sensible qualities which they seem on inspection to 






SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 205 

have, and that these objective constituents are literally 
parts of the surfaces of those physical objects which 
we are said to be perceiving. If we drop the fourth 
clause of the common-sense belief it still remains possid/e 
that the neutral and persistent conditions of perceptual 
situations literally have some colour and so7ne tempera- 
ture. And the colour and temperature might be identical 
with those of the objective constituent of one specially 
favoured perceptual situation. Is there any positive 
reason to believe that this is in fact true? I do not 
think that there is. It does not seem to be possible 
to account for the correlated variations in the shapes 
and sizes of visual sensa without assigning quasi-spatial 
qualities and relations to the permanent conditions of 
these variable appearances and to the things which 
manifest themselves to us by bodily feelings. But, 
so far as I can see, it is neither necessary nor useful 
to ascribe to these permanent conditions anything 
analogous to the colour and the temperature which 
we find in sensa. It has been found more expedient 
to correlate the colours and temperatures of sensa with 
certain kinds of motion of certain kinds of microscopic 
parts of their permanent conditions. It is practically 
certain that the independently necessary and sufficient 
conditions of the colour and temperature of the objective 
constituent of a given perceptual situation are events 
within the observer's own body ; i.e.^ within that rela- 
tively permanent object which is manifested to himself 
by a mass of bodily feeling, and to others through 
certain characteristic visual and tactual sensa. But, in 
non-delusive perceptual situations, these bodily events 
are physically determined by certain motions of certain 
particles in an emitting region ; so that these external 
physical events are the dependently necessary and common 
conditions of the colours and temperatures of the corre- 
lated sensa of a whole group of observers who are said 
to be '' perceiving the same external object". Provided 
we are dealing with non-delusive perceptual situations 




/ 



0-.- - > 



206 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

and with normal human observers whose bodies are in 
a healthy state, we can drop the independently necessary 
conditions out of account, and confine our attention to 
these dependently necessary and common external con- 
ditions. This of course is what the physical theories 
of colour and temperature do. Naturally such theories 
are incomplete, since they presuppose the fulfilment of 
conditions which are not always fulfilled. But, when 
we try to complete them we have to do so, not by 
ascribing a physical colour or temperature in a literal 
sense to the external conditions, but by considering 
the structure and processes of the observer's body. 
Thus, whilst it is not impossible that physical objects 
may literally have colours and temperatures, there is 
not the slightest reason to believe that they do. It is 
of course quite easy to define a Pickwickian sense in 
which a certain physical object may be said to have a 
certain physical colour. I have already done this in 
treating the Multiple Inherence Theory, and it is per- 
fectly easy to give a similar definition, mutatis mutajidis, 
on the other two theories. But this is quite a different 
thing from saying that a physical object literally has 
a certain colour, in the sense in which the objective 
constituents of visual situations have colours. 

I do not know that I have ever seen a satisfactory 
definition of the terms ^'Primary" and "Secondary" 
Quality. It will therefore be of interest to try to give 
one. I suggest the following definitions. "A_Primary 
Quality is a determinable characteristic which, we Have 
reason to believe, inheres literally and dyadically in 
some physical object in some determinate form or other." 
''A Secondary Quality is a determinable characteristic 
which certainly inheres or seems to inhere literally and 
dyadically in the objective constituents of some per- 
ceptual situations in some determinate form or other, 
but which there is no reason to believe inheres literally 
and dyadically in any physical object." A primary 
quality may, but need not, inhere literally and dyadic- 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 207 

ally in some objective constituent. On these definitions, 
colour and temperature are secondary qualities, if I am 
right about their status. Shape, size and position are 
primary qualities which inhere literally and dyadically 
both in the objective constituents of perceptual situations 
and in their relatively permanent conditions. Electric 
charge, magnetic properties, and so on, are primary 
qualities which inhere literally and dyadically in physical 
objects, but do not (so far as we know) inhere in the 
objective constituent of any perceptual situation. 

Before ending this section it will be interesting to see 
just where Locke and Berkeley were respectively right 
and wrong, on our view, about primary and secondary 
qualities. Berkeley was right against Locke when he 
said that nothing could possibly be -merely extended and 
movable. (Though Locke, to do him justice, never 
maintained anything so silly as the proposition which 
Berkeley refutes.) This may be expressed by saying 
that, if spatio-temporal characteristics be primary, they 
cannot be the only primary characteristics. Whatever is 
extended must have some other characteristic, which is 
capable of covering an area or filling a volume as colour 
and temperature do in sensa. But Berkeley was wrong 
in thinking that this ''extensible characteristic", as I 
will call it, must be colour or temperature or some other 
quality which literally and dyadically inheres in sensa. 
It might be mass or electric charge. Again, Berkeley 
was right in so far as he held that there is just as good 
reason to deny that the determinate shapes and sizes 
of sensa inhere literally in some permanent object, 
which we are said to be "seeing", as to deny that the 
determinate colours or temperatures of sensa literally 
inhere in such objects. But Locke was right in so far 
as he held that there is positive reason to hold that the 
determinable characteristic of extension inheres literally 
and dyadically in physical objects as well as in sensa, 
whilst there is no reason to believe that the determin- 
able characteristics of colour and temperature inhere 



2o8 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

literally and dyadically in anything but sensa. And 
so Locke was right in thinking that we can and must 
distinguish between primary and secondary qualities, 
and he was right in assigning extension and motion to 
the former class, and colour and temperature to the 
latter. Both these great men were thus expressing im- 
portant truths ; but they both expressed them imperfectly, 
because they failed to notice certain important distinc- 
tions which we, who have the advantage of standing on 
their shoulders, are able to see. 

The Subjective Factors in Perceptual Situations. I 
have been considering the belief, which forms an 
essential factor in every perceptual situation and con- 
stitutes its external reference, from a logical and episte- 
mological and not from a psychological point of view. 
By this I mean that I have been concerned with the 
propositions believed and not with the act of believing 
them. I have tried to state clearly what these pro- 
positions are ; to consider which of them are certainly 
false and which of them are possibly true ; and to ad- 
duce and appraise the evidence which can be submitted 
in favour of the latter. I propose to end this chapter 
by an attempt at further psychological analysis of the 
perceptual situation. The remarks which I shall now 
make are to be regarded as a continuation of the analysis 
which was begun and carried a certain length in the 
sub-section on External Reference. I there warned the 
reader of the following points, (i) That the belief 
which constitutes the external reference of a perceptual 
situation is not in fact reached by inference, even if it 
can be defended by inference on later reflection, (ii) 
That, psychologically, it can only be called a ''belief" 
by courtesy. We can only say that a man in a per- 
ceptual situation acts, adjusts his body, and feels certain 
emotions ; and that these actions, adjustments, and 
emotions are such as would be reasonable if he were 
explicitly making such and such judgments, which he 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 209 

does not in fact make as a rule at the time. The bodily 
adjustment itself is of course no part of the subjective 
factor in the perceptual situation ; but it is impossible 
to make these adjustments or to start to perform these 
actions without producing certain characteristic modifi- 
cations of bodily feeling. These modifications of bodily 
feeling and these emotions are an essential part of the 
subjective side of every perceptual situation. We have 
now to see whether we can carry the analysis any 
further. 

A reflective observer, considering one of his own 
perceptual situations after it has ceased, or considering 
a contemporary perceptual situation in which he is 
not personally concerned, would probably propose the 
following analysis for it. (i) An objective constituent, 
having certain sensible qualities and forming a differ- 
entiated part of a wider sense-field, (ii) A subjective 
constituent, consisting of a mass of bodily feeling, 
emotion, etc. (iii) The fact that this objective con- 
stituent is intuitively apprehended by the percipient, 
(iv) The fact that the percipient, who intuitively ap- 
prehends the objective constituent and who feels the 
emotions and bodily feelings, has certain non-inferential 
beliefs about the objective constituent which go beyond 
anything that is intuitively apprehended in the situation. 
I believe this analysis to be substantially correct, though 
the fourth factor in it is expressed in terms which do 
not strictly apply to anything so primitive as the per- 
ceptual situation but are borrowed from higher cognitive 
levels. I have already discussed the first factor ad 
nauseam^ and I have already given my reasons for 
wishing to modify the statement of the fourth. What 
I want to do now is to explain what I suppose to be 
involved in the intuitive apprehension of the objective 
constituent and in the quasi-belief about it. I think 
that the two are probably very closely connected. 

The Intuitive Apprehension of Sensa. It is quite 
certain that there is a difference between the two 

O 



210 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

propositions: "This is a red round patch in a visual 
field" and "This red round patch in a visual field is 
intuitively apprehended by so-and-so". Even if as a 
matter of fact there are no such objects which are not 
intuitively apprehended by someone, it seems to me to 
be perfectly certain that it is logically possible that there 
might have been. {I have argued earlier in the chapter 
that it is also causally possible, but it is not necessary 
for our present purpose that this should be so.) Since 
it is logically possible that the same sensum should 
sometimes be intuitively apprehended and sometimes 
not, or that it should sometimes be intuitively ap- 
prehended by A and not by B and at other times by B 
and not by A, it seems plain that the characteristic 
of being '"intuitively apprehended" is a relational 
characteristic ; i.e.^ that it consists in the establishment 
of a certain asymmetrical relation R between the sensum 
and somethihg else. The question is: "What is this 
relation, and what is this something else ? " A theory 
has been put forward by the persons who call themselves 
"New Realists", which would provide a simple 
answer to this question if it could be accepted. It has 
also been suggested by Mr Russell, and is therefore 
worth a degree of attention which it might not otherwise 
have deserved. 

So far as I can understand the theory it comes 
roughly to this. All the visual sensa of which it would 
be true to say that A intuitively apprehends them 
belong to a certain visual field. And of all sensa 
which belong to this visual field it would be true to say 
that A intuitively apprehends them. Hence the two 
properties of "being intuitively apprehended by A" 
and "belonging to a certain visual field" are logically 
equivalent. Moreover, the relation of a sensum to a 
sense-field is asymmetrical. It is then suggested that 
really we have not two different though logically 
equivalent properties, but a single property with two 
different names. To say that " The visual sensum s is 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 211 

intuitively apprehended by A " means the same as to 
say that "The visual sensum s belongs to a certain 
visual field /a." If this were true, the ''something 
else" to which a sensum is related when it is intuitively 
apprehended would be a certain sense-field ; and the 
asymmetrical relation of being intuitively apprehended 
would be that of a part of a sense-field to the sense-field 
as a whole. 

It seems to me perfectly certain that this theory is 
false, {a) No one would admit that a sensum which 
was part of a sense - field which is not intuitively 
apprehended would itself be intuitively apprehended. 
Hence we can hold that "to be intuitively apprehended " 
and "to belong to a sense-field" mean the same only if 
we admit that it is logically impossible for there to be a 
sense-field which is not intuitively apprehended. Now 
it is quite plain that there is no more logical impossi- 
bility in the existence of an unapprehended sense-field 
than in the existence of a single sensum which is not 
intuitively apprehended. Hence "to be intuitively 
apprehended" and "to belong to a sense-field " ^ti^wzc^ 
mean the same, {b) A visual sensum, a tactual sensum, 
and an auditory sensum may all be intuitively ap- 
prehended by the same person at the same time. They 
certainly do not all form parts of any one sense-field. 
Hence, to be intuitively apprehended by a certain 
person cannot be the same as to form part of a certain 
sense-field. Still, it is no doubt true that there is some 
relation between those sensa which would be said to be 
intuitively apprehended by the same person, which does 
not hold between sensa which would not be said to be 
intuitively apprehended by the same person. Might it 
not be suggested then that the theory is right in outline, 
though incorrect as originally stated? We may admit 
that "to be intuitively apprehended" is fiot the same as 
"to be united with certain other sensa so as to form 
with them a certain sense-field " ; but might we not 
suggest that it is the same as "to be united with certain 



212 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

other sensa by a certain relation R"? R might be a 
quite unique relation, incapable of further analysis or 
definition ; but it would have to have the following 
properties, (i) It must be logically possible for a set 
of sensa which are not all parts of a single sense-field to 
be related to each other by the relation R. (2) R must 
be such that two sensa, each of which is related by R to 
some other sensa, need not be related by R to each other. 
For there are sensa which are intuitively apprehended 
by A and not by B, and there are sensa which are 
intuitively apprehended by B and not by A. The 
modified theory then comes to this. There is a certain 
relation R which binds certain sensa together into 
mutually exclusive groups. To be intuitively appre- 
hended means to be a member of some group of sensa 
bound together by the relation R. Let us consider 
this theory in its modified form. 

So long as the theory is content to regard the relation 
R as absolutely unique and peculiar I do not think 
that it can be positively refuted. The moment it 
attempts to identify R with some familiar relation, such 
as compresence in a sense-field or a direct relation of 
simultaneity, it is plainly false. It is obviously logically 
possible, e.g.^ that a* set of sensa should be directly 
simultaneous with each other and yet that none of them 
should be intuitively apprehended. But, although I 
cannot refute the theory so long as it is willing to take 
R as absolutely unique and peculiar, I think I can 
prove that it fails to account for a certain obvious fact so 
well as alternative theories, and that the motives which 
led to it are connected with an erroneous belief. This I 
will now try to show. 

{a) If the theory be a complete account of the facts, 
the unity of a set of sensa which are all intuitively 
apprehended by a certain person is wholly a " unity of 
system " and not a" unity of centre ". I shall have to 
consider these two types of unity in greater detail when 
I consider the unity of the Self. At present I will 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 213 

content myself with saying that a family of brothers 
and sisters is an example of a unity^ of centre. The 
relations which they have to each other ^e due to the 
fact that they all stand in a common relation to some- 
thing (viz., their parents) which is not itself a member 
of the set. The points on a straight line constitute a 
pure unity of system ; they are just directly related to 
each other by the relation of "between", and this 
relation does not depend in any way on their all being 
related by some common relation to something which is 
not a member of the set. Now it is perfectly certain 
that we all believe, to start with, that the unity of a set 
of sensa which are all intuitively apprehended by the 
same person is a unity of centre and not a pure unity 
of system. That this is so is proved conclusively by 
language, and by the extreme air of paradox which the 
opposite view continues to present even when we admit 
that it is logically possible. It is certainly a fact then 
that, z/"the unity of a set of sensa intuitively apprehended 
by the same person be in fact a pure unity of system, it 
nevertheless appears, and goes on appearing, to be a 
unity of centre. This fact must be recognised and 
accounted for on any adequate theory of the subject. 
Now my objection to the theory under discussion is that 
it utterly fails to account for this appearance. We must 
remember that every unity of centre is also a unity of 
system. If ;r, y, and s all stand in a certain unique 
relation S to a certain term t there will be an unique, 
though derivative, relation between x, j/, and z. For 
X will have to j/ the relation R of " being both of them 
terms which stand in the relation S to ^ ". And, 
since S is unique, R will be unique. Thus it is quite 
possible that what is in fact a unity of centre might 
appear to be a pure unity of system, especially if the 
" centre " t were such that it is hard to detect and easy 
to overlook. But there is no reason whatever why what 
is in fact a pure unity of system should appear to be a 
unity of centre. Hence it seems to me that the theory 



214 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

under discussion is quite incompetent to explain a most 
striking and perfectly indubitable fact. I should there- 
fore consider it absurd to accept such a theory unless 
there were insuperable objections to the alternatives or 
great advantages in itself. These claims would be 
made for the present theory ; but I believe that they 
have no justification, as I will now try to show. 

{&) The objection which supporters of this theory 
make to the opposite view is that the latter involves a 
"Pure Ego" to be the " centre " which generates the 
unity. And it is supposed that a "Pure Ego" is so 
disreputable that no decent philosopher would allow 
such a thing in his mind if he could possibly help it. 
I shall have to deal with the alleged indecency of the 
Pure Ego in a later chapter ; here I will merely say 
that the objection is quite irrelevant because there is no 
need whatever for the unifying centre to be a Pure Ego. 
It might be, and I believe is, a mass of bodily feeling. 
Of course, later on, questions must be raised about the 
"ownership" of this mass of feeling; and then we 
might find that the Pure Ego Theory explained the 
facts better than any other. But, so long as we are 
merely concerned with the intuitive apprehension of 
sensa, it is perfectly ridiculous to try to frighten us into 
the theory under discussion by threatening us with the 
Pure Ego as a kind of bogey which can be exorcised 
only by a course of " New Realism ". 

(c) I think that the advantage which is claimed for 
the theory is that it is "naturalistic". This, I think, 
means roughly that it claims to be able to deal with 
mind without introducing any new and unique entities 
or relations. I have already shown that the opposite 
theory has no immediate need of any very mysterious 
special entity, such as a Pure Ego. There should be 
nothing very trying, even to the most sensitively natural- 
istic mind, in a mass of bodily feeling. And I claim 
also to have shown that the theory cannot dispense 
with an unique kind of relation. If you identify the 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 215 

relation R with any familiar relation it is perfectly 
obvious that "to be intuitively apprehended " does not 
mean " to be a member of a group of sensa interrelated 
by R ". On the whole, then, it seems to me that there 
are grave objections to the theory under discussion and 
no advantages to outweigh them. I therefore reject it, 
and accept the common-sense view that when a visual, 
tactual, or auditory sensum is intuitively apprehended 
it stands in_an unique kind of relation to something 
wKiclTlsnot an auditory, tactual, or visual sensum. / 
And I believe this "something" to be the mass ! 
of general bodily feeling of the percipient at the 
time. 

The quasi-Belief about the Sensum. I am inclined to 
think that the quasi-belief about the objective con- 
stituent, which is the fourth distinguishable feature in 
a perceptual situation, consists in the fact that certain 
specific bodily feelings (connected with the automatic 
adjustment of the body), certain emotions, and certain 
feelings of expectation, are related in an unique way to 
the apprehended sensum. These are causally dependent 
on the traces left by past experience. When a sensum 
of a specific kind is intuitively apprehended certain 
traces are excited ; these arouse certain emotions and 
induce certain bodily adjustments which are accom- 
panied by specific bodily feelings. They may in 
addition call up certain images ; and, even if they do 
not do this, they may evoke a more or less vague feeling 
of "familiarity". These " mnemic consequences" of 
the apprehension of the sensum do not just coexist 
with it ; they immediately enter into a specific kind of 
relation to it, which I do not know how to analyse 
further. And these "mnemic consequences" in this |+ 
specific relation to this intuitively apprehended sensum 44^ 
constitute the quasi-belief about the sensum, which gives Y 
the situation its specific External Reference. Any 
situation constructed of such materials in such relations, 
ipso facto, has such and such an External Reference. This 



^^ 



2i6 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

is the best analysis that I can offer at present of the 
typical perceptual situation. 

It raises one interesting question. Can there be pure 
sensation without perception ? Let us see exactly what 
this means on our theory. A pure sensation would be 
a situation in which a certain sensum, e.g.^ a noise or 
a coloured patch, was intuitively apprehended, but in 
which there was no external reference. Now, on our 
theory, we should expect perception to melt into pure 
sensation by insensible degrees ; we should expect the 
latter to be an ideal limit rather than an observable 
fact ; and we should expect it to be unstable and 
transitory, if it happens at all. If the mass of feeling 
be highly differentiated and certain specific parts of it 
be specifically related to a certain sensum, we shall have 
a clear case of a perceptual situation with a definite 
external reference. If, on the other hand, the mass of 
feeling be little differentiated, and the apprehension of 
the sensum fails to excite traces which cause specific 
modifications in the mass, we shall have a situation 
which approximates to pure sensation, since its external 
reference will be very vague. And the same result 
would happen, even if the mass of feeling were differ- 
entiated in the way suggested, provided that for some 
reason the differentiated parts failed to enter into the 
proper relation to the apprehended sensum. It seems 
to me that when we are looking at something with 
interest our awareness of the sensa towards the edge of 
the visual field approximates to pure sensation for the 
first reason. And, perhaps, when we are looking for 
something and discover afterwards that it was staring 
us in the face all the time, our awareness of the sensa 
connected with it approximates to pure sensation from 
the second cause. 

The Categorial Factor in Sense-Perception. One more 
point remains to be raised. I have said that, when the 
quasi-belief which is an essential factor in all perceptual 
situations is formulated in abstract terms, it may be 



SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 217 



summed up in certain propositions which I have stated 
and criticised. I rejected the fourth of these, and 
defended the first three by an inverse-probability 
argument. But, as a matter of psychology, I asserted 
that the belief in them was not in fact reached in this 
way. And, as a matter of logic, I asserted that the 
argument gives them a high final probability only 
if they start with a finite initial probability. Here then 
are certain propositions such that every one acts as if 
he believed them, and inevitably goes on acting as if 
he believed them, no matter what theoretical doubts he 
may feel about them while he is reflecting on them. It 
is certain that they do not appear self-evident on re- 
flexion ; that they cannot be deduced by self-evident 
steps from premises which are self-evident ; and that 
they cannot be defended by probable reasoning except 
on the assumption that they have a finite initial prob- 
ability. I call such a set of propositions a set of 
"Postulates". Between them they ** define " a certain 
general concept, viz. the notion of a Physical Object. 
For a physical object just is something that answers to 
these postulates. A general concept which is defined 
in this way by a set of postulates such as I have been 
describing, I call a ''Category". From the very 
nature of the case the notion of "Physical Object" 
cannot have been derived by abstraction from observed 
instances of it, as the notion of "red" no doubt has 
been. For the objective constituents of perceptual 
situations are not instances of this concept ; and it is 
only in virtue of these postulates that we can hold that 
they are "parts of" or "manifestations of" instances 
of this concept. The concept is not "got out of" 
experience until it has been " put into " experience. It 
is best described as an innate principle of interpretation 
which we apply to the data of sense-perception. At 
the purely perceptual level "to apply the principle" 
simply means to act and to feel as it would be reason- 
able to act and feel if we explicitly recognised it and 



2i8 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

interpreted the data of sense in accordance with it. It 
is only at the reflective level that we can state in abstract 
terms the implications of what we have all been doing 
all our lives. 

^ Summary and Conclusions. In this chapter I have 

'yi/^ been concerned with two very difficult questions : 

"What may we believe about our own bodies and 
about the external world?" and " What is the mind 
really doing when it is said to be perceiving a material 
object?" On the first point I have reached the following 
tentative conclusions, (i) We may believe that there are 
relatively permanent objects which literally have shape, 
size, and position ; which stand in literal spatial and 
temporal relations to each other ; and which literally 
move about in Space. (2) We may believe that some 
of them are animated by minds ; and that any one of 
them which is animated by a mind manifests itself to 
that mind in a peculiar way, viz., by organic sensations. 
Nothing manifests itself in this way except to the 
mind, if there be one, which animates it. (3) We may 
believe that physical objects, whether animated or not, 
manifest themselves in a variety of ways to minds which 
do not animate them. And we may believe that a 
-7 single physical object may manifest Jtself at the same 

time in the same or in different ways to a number of 
minds animating bodies in various places. (4) We may 
believe that, by comparison of the objective constituents 
of various perceptual situations and by reflexion on 
their correlations, we can determine with high proba- 
bility the shape, size, and position of the physical 
\y^ object which manifests itself in this situation. And 

with somewhat less certainty we can determine im- 
portant facts about its microscopic structure and the 
movements of its microscopic parts. (5) We must 
believe that a physical object has other properties beside 
its purely spatio-temporal ones. It must have at least 
one quality which is capable of literally covering an 



^ SENSE-PERCEPTION AND MATTER 219 

area or filling a volume ; and it may have many such. 
(6) We may not believe that the objective constituents 
of perceptual situations are literally spatio-temporal 
parts of the physical objects which we are said to be 
perceiving in those situations ; or that in general they 
have the same determinate spatial characteristics as the 
sensa by which they manifest themselves. (7) We have 
no reason to believe that physical objects have the same 
determ'inad/e sensible qualities as the sensa by which 
they manifest themselves. (8) We may not believe that 
the shape, size, spatial position, date, or sensible 
qualities of a sensum by which a certain physical 
object manifests itself are directly determined by this 
physical object or by processes in it. On the contrary 
the independently necessary and sufficient conditions of 
all these characteristics of the sensum are within the 
region occupied by the percipient's body. At best the 
external physical object and the processes in it are 
remote and dependently necessary conditions of the 
sensum and its characteristics. (9) We have, therefore, 
to recognise a peculiar kind of Jrans-pjiysical causation, 
according to which the occurrence of certain events in a 
certain brain and nervous system determines the occur- 
rence of a sensum with such and such a shape, size, 
position, and sensible quality, in a certain sense-field 
of a certain sense-history. (10) We have to admit 
that certain characteristics of certain sensa are probably / 

not completely determined by physical and physio- >-. 

logical events in the body of the percipient ; but are in J^Ja T--" 
part determined, either directly or indirectly by events 
in the mind which animates this body. 

On the second point I have reached the following 
tentative conclusions. (i) The perceptual situation 
contains two constituents, one objective and the other 
subjective. (2) The objective constituent is a sense- 
field with a certain outstanding sensum. (3) The 
subjective constituent is a mass of bodily feeling, 
together with certain specific emotions, muscular 



220 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

sensations, feelings of familiarity, images, etc. (4) The 
latter are produced through the excitement of certain 
traces by the apprehension of the sensum. (5) The 
sensum is apprehended by entering into a certain 
specific relation with the general mass of bodily feeling. 
(6) The situation has a certain specific external reference 
in virtue of a certain specific relation between the 
apprehended sensum and its "mnemic consequences" 
in the way of feeling, etc. (7) It seems likely that pure 
sensation is an ideal limit, which is approached as the 
external reference grows vaguer and vaguer, rather than 
an observable fact. (8) The notion of Physical Object 
cv^ cannot have been abstracted from the data of sense. It 

is a Category, and is defined by Postulates. 



CHAPTER V 

Memory 

The word " memory " is highly ambiguous, even when 
it is not being used in admittedly paradoxical and un- 
common senses, as when people talk of ''racial" or 
"ancestral" memory. I call such uses of the word 
paradoxical because even those persons who hold that 
in performing an instinctive action we are "remember- 
ing " similar actions which were performed deliberately 
by our remote ancestors would have to admit that, in 
the ordinary sense of "remembering", we certainly do 
not remember the actions or thoughts of our ancestors. 
Even apart from these odd senses of " memory" it is 
quite certain that the word covers a number of very 
different acts. We talk of remembering a set of 
nonsense-syllables ; of remembering a poem ; of re- 
membering a proposition in Euclid, though we have 
forgotten the words in which it was expressed when 
we originally learnt it ; of remembering past events ; 
and of remembering people, places, and things. To 
remember a set of nonsense-syllables is merely to have 
acquired the power of repeating them at will ; and 
remembering, in this sense, seems to be no more an 
act of cognition than is the act of riding a bicycle or of 
swimming. To remember a proposition of Euclid is 
no doubt to perform a genuine act of cognition ; and 
the same is true of remembering events, persons, and 
places. But the first kind of act has an abstract and 
timeless object ; whilst the second has a concrete par- 
ticular object which exists in time. Presumably then 
the memory of propositions is something quite different 
from the memory of mere sentences, on the one hand, 

221 



222 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

and from the memory of events, persons, and places, 
on the other. This of course is quite compatible with 
the view that there may be intimate relations of causal 
dependence between the various kinds of memory, and 
that there may be something common and peculiar to 
them all in virtue of which they are all called " memory ". 
It seems plain that there is one and only one kind of 
memory which can plausibly be regarded as closely 
analogous to perception ; and this is the memory of 
particular events, places, persons, or things. Let us 
call this "Perceptual Memory". My main object in 
this chapter is to discuss perceptual memory, to compare 
it with perception, and to consider some of the epistemo- 
logical problems to which it gives rise. At the end of 
the chapter I shall say something about the other senses 
in which the word "memory" is used, and shall con- 
sider the mutual relations and the common features (if 
any) of all kinds of memory. 

Memory-Powers and Memory-Acts. I must begin by 
pointing out an ambiguity which applies equally to all 
kinds of memory and does not apply to perception. If 
a man said to me: "Do you see Jones?" and I 
answered: "Yes", I should be lying unless I were 
actually at the time subject of a visual situation whose 
objective constituent I took to be an appearance of 
Jones. But, if he said to me: "Do you remember 
Jones?" or " Do you remember Euclid i. 47?" or " Do 
you remember the first line of the ^neid'i^^ I might 
quite truly answer "Yes" even though I were not at 
the time performing any memory-act at all. So long as 
I believe that I could remember these things if I tried I 
should be justified in saying that I do remember them. 
If, on the other hand, he had said to me: "Are you 
remembering Jones?" I should not be justified in 
saying: "Yes" unless I were at the time actually the 
subject of a memory-situation with Jones as its epistemo- 
logical object. 



MEMORY 223 

The point may be put shortly as follows. "To 
remember" is an ambiguous word, which covers both 
an act and a power. When I say that I remember so- 
and-so I may be referring either to the power or to a 
particular present exercise of the power. When I say 
that I am remembering so-and-so I am understood to 
be referring to a particular present exercise of the power, 
and not merely to the power itself. We do not use words 
like "seeing" and "hearing" in this ambiguous way. 
Whether I say that I see so-and-so or that I am seeing 
so-and-so I am understood to be referring to a present 
act of perception, and not to a mere power of perceiv- 
ing. Thus, in discussing memory and trying to com- 
pare it with perception, I must be understood to be 
talking about particular acts of remembering so-and-so, 
and not (unless I specially say so) about the general 
power of remembering so-and-so at will. We must 
distinguish then between " Memory-acts " and " Memory- 
powers ", and we shall be talking about the former 
unless we explicitly say that we are talking about the 
latter. 

Perceptual Memory. It will be admitted by every- 
one that such phrases as " I remember having my hair 
cut last week", "I remember the tie which my friend 
wore yesterday", " I remember the feeling which I had 
when I last went to the dentist", and "I remember 
hearing Mr Russell lecture", all stand for familiar 
cognitive situations which do arise from time to time. 
We will call them "Perceptual Memory-Situations", 
or in the present section simply " Memory-Situations". 
It will be noticed that the four examples which I have 
given differ from each other in the nature of the object 
which we profess to be remembering. In the first we 
profess to be remembering an event of the pkj/sz'cal kind. 
In the second we profess to be remembering a certain 
physical thing. In the third we profess to be remember- 
ing a past feeling. And in the fourth we profess to be 



/( 



224 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

remembering a past perceptual situation. Let us first 
consider the relation between memories of events and 
memories of things. 

Memories of Events and of Things. We have a like 
distinction in the case of perception. We talk of seeing 
a flash of lightning and of hearing a clap of thunder ; 
and we also talk of seeing a cloud and hearing a bell. 
In the one case we claim to be perceiving a physical 
event, in the other a physical thing. If we reflect we 
see that the two kinds of perceptual situation are very 
closely connected. When we say that we are perceiving 
a certain physical event, as distinct from merely having 
an auditory or visual sensation, we mean that we 
regard the sensum which we are sensing as either a 
part or an appearance of a part of the history of a 
certain physical thing. On the other hand, when we 
say that we are perceiving a certain physical thing, we 
are really perceiving a physical event or a series of 
them and regarding them as parts of the history of this 
physical thing. All perceptual situations refer beyond 
themselves to physical things ; if we confine ourselves 
to saying that we perceive a certain physical event we 
simply leave the further reference rather more vague 
than when we say that we perceive a certain physical 
thing. Now the same is true of perceptual memory. 
I say that I remember the late Master of Trinity, and I 
say that I remember dining with him. But, on the one 
hand, I remember him only in so far as I remember 
events in which he was concerned. And, on the other 
hand, when I remember any physical event I, ipso facto, 
remember to some extent the thing in which I believe 
this event to have happened. Thus I think we may 
say that to remember a thing or person simply means 
to remember certain past events and to regard them as 
incidents in the history of that thing or person. We 
can, and very often do, remember things which still 
exist and which we are now perceiving. I both perceive 
and remember the chairs in my room, in so far as I 



\ |p?^<>jfc^ X— y. 






^,^ ^'-^ 



MEMORY . 225 

perceive certain present events and remember certain 
past events and regard them as so many successive 
phases in the history of my chairs. So I think that 
the fundamental point to be considered in dealing with 
perceptual memory is the memory of events. Memory 
of things depends on this, and no principles are involved 
in passing from the memory of events to the memory of 
things which are not equally involved in the passage 
from the perception of events to the perception of 
things. We may add that the perception of things, in 
so far as it involves the belief that the event which I am 
now perceiving is the present phase of the history of a 
certain enduring thing, is inextricably bound up with 
memory of things and therefore with memory of events. 
Repetition and Perceptual Memory. It has sometimes 
been held that a criterion by which we can distinguish 
Perceptual Memory from mere Habit Memory, such as 
is involved in repeating a poem by heart, is that 
Habit Memory depends on repetition whilst Perceptual 
Memory from the nature of the case cannot do so. This 
of course would at best be only a distinction between 
the conditions under which the two kinds of memory- 
power are acquired ; it would not be a distinction 
between the two kinds of memory-^^/. But it seems to 
me to be a rather inaccurate statement ; and I think 
that those who have made it have failed to distinguish 
between perceptual memory of events and pierceptual 
memory of things. It will be worth while to clear up 
this point before going further. In the first place, 
repetition is not essential, though it is helpful, for the 
establishment of a habit-memory-power. A man, like 
Lord Macaulay, with a very quick and retentive verbal 
memory, may be able to repeat sentences or sets of 
nonsense-syllables which he has met with only once. 
Secondly, it is obvious that our power of remembering 
a person, place, or thing is in some ways improved by 
repeatedly perceiving the object in question. It will, 
therefore, be well to clear up this question of the relation 

p 



226 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

between repetition and the acquirement of memory- 
powers, (i) It is of course perfectly true that the power 
of remembering a certain definite event cannot be due 
to repetition, and cannot be improved by repetition. 
For a definite event with a definite date cannot be 
repeatedly perceived, although other events very much 
like it may be perceived at various times. (2) But 
perceptual memory-power which is concerned with 
people or things is improved by repetition in two ways. 
(a) It is improved in content by repetition with varia- 
tion. I have said that my memory of a thing consists 
^l^Ct ,' of my memories of various events all of which I regard 
as so many slices of the history of this thing. Now a 
thing shows different sides of its nature by being placed 
in different kinds of situation. I can remember a thing 
or person better (in the sense that I can know more 
facts about it by memory) in proportion to the number 
of events of different kinds in which I have perceived it 
to be concerned. And the same thing can be concerned 
in a large number of events of very different kinds 
only on a number of successive occasions. Hence the 
power of adequately remembering a thing or person 
does need repetition for its establishment. But the 
repetition which is needful for this purpose is quite 
different in kind from that which is helpful in establish- 
ing a power of habit-memory. In the former case 
repetition is important only as a necessary condition for 
variation. In the latter case what is wanted is pure 
repetition with as little variation as possible, {b) I 
think that it is also true that pure repetition without 
variation plays a part in the establishment and improve- 
ment of the power of remembering persons and things ; 
for I think that an element of habit-memory is involved 
in perceptual memory. To have an accurate memory of 
a person or thing it is useful, if not essential, to be able 
to call up an accurate image. Now the power to call up 
an image is just a habit, like the acquired power to 
repeat a sentence which one has learnt by heart. And 



MEMORY 227 

to establish this power repetition with as little variation 
as possible is helpful. The perceptual memory -act 
does not indeed consist in calling up the image ; but the 
power to do so is an important condition of an accurate 
perceptual memory. As this power is established and 
improved by bare repetition, such repetition is so far 
helpful in establishing a perceptual memory-power. 

Nahire of Memory-Objects and of Perception Objects. 
If the reader will refer back to the examples which I 
gave of perceptual memory-situations he will see that 
we claim to remember, not only physical things and 
events, -but also feelings and perceptual situations. 
We claim to remember, not only our friend's tie and 
Mr Russell's lecture, but also seeing the tie, hearing 
the lecture, and feeling toothache. Now we do not 
claim to perceive anything but physical events and 
objects. I do not think that we ought to exaggerate 
this difference between the possible objects of memory 
and the possible objects of perception. If we confine 
the name "perception" to j-^^^j^-perception, it is true 
that the objects of memory are less restricted than those 
of perception. But perhaps this restriction is un- 
warranted. We certainly seem to have some kind of 
intuitive knowledge of contemporary feelings and per- 
ceptual situations, and it is possible that we ought to 
regard this as a form of perception. I shall deal with 
this question in the next chapter. In the meanwhile 
we must recognise that, whilst the objects of memory 
are certainly less restricted than those of sense-per- 
ception, they may coincide with those of perception in 
the wider sense. 

It is one of the characteristics of sense-perception 
that the objects which we claim to perceive are public 
and neutral. When we remember physical things and 
events memory claims to reveal public and neutral 
objects to us. A number of people can remember the 
same man or the same flash of lightning. When we 
remember feelings or perceptual situations memory 



^ 



7 



228 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

claims only to reveal private and personal objects to 
us. It might be argued that there is something more 
private and personal about the object of a memory even 
of a physical thing or event than there is about the 
object of a perceptual situation. We can remember 
only the things and events which we have perceived, 
and only those phases of the past history of things 
which fell under our notice. I think that this does 
impose a restriction on the range of memory as com- 
pared with that of perception ; but I do notthink that 
it introduces any special privacy into the objects of 
memory. I can remember only those things and events 
which I have perceived, and it happens to be true that 
I perceive many things and events which I cannot 
remember. But it is also true that I can perceive only 
those things and events which produce sensations in 
me, and that many things do in fact produce sensations 
in me without giving rise to perceptions. Xhis^re- 
striction in the range of perception does not make 
the perceived objects essentially private in character ; 
similarly, the further restriction in the range of memory 
does not make the remembered objects essentially private 
in character. In each case the class of objects perceived 
or remembered is determined by factors which are 
personal to the experient ; but each of the individual 
members of the class may still be of such a nature that 
a number of experients could perceive or remember it. 

It is only on one very special theory about memory 
that it could be maintained that there is something 
essentially private about the objects even of memories 
of physical events and things. It might be suggested 
that, when we say that we remember a certain physical 
thing or event, what we primarily remember is a past 
perceptual situation of which we were the subject and 
the event was the epistemological object. E.g.^ it 
might be held that, when I say that I remember a 
certain lecture being given by Mr Russell, I primarily 
remember the perceptual situation of myself hearing 



MEMORY 229 

Mr Russell speaking ; and that my belief that Mr 
Russell did speak is inferred from my memory of 
hearing him speak. On this view that what we 
primarily remember is perceptual situations with our- 
selves as subjects, and that our memory-beliefs about 
physical events and objects are secondary and derivative, 
it would be true to say that the primary epistemological 
objects of all perceptual memories are private and 
personal in a way in which the epistemological objects 
of perceptual situations are not. A milder view would 
be that, although my memory-judgments about physical 
events and things are not derived ivova a more primitive 
memory of myself perceiving these objects, yet, in fact, 
the former kind of memory-situation does not and 
cannot exist without the latter. On this milder view 
the total epistemological object of any memory situation 
would be complex ; and, since one part of it would 
always be a past perceptual situation with myself as 
subject, it would be true that there is something private 
and personal in the epistemological object of every 
memory-situation even when there is also something 
public and neutral. I shall have to discuss these two 
views a little later, when I try to analyse the typical 
perceptual memory-situation. 

In the meanwhile there is one other remark to be 
made before leaving this part of the subject. \Ye shall 
find that it is necessary to distinguish between the %| 
objective constituent of a memory-situation and its .^ ^ 
epistemological object, just as we have had to do in the Iv 
case of perceptual situations. Now it is arguable that 
the objective constituents of memory-situations are 
private and existentially dependent on the body, if not 
on the mind, of the experient. For the objective con- 
stituents of memory-situations are generally believed 
to be images, and images are generally believed to be 
private in this sense. This, however, would not make 
any sharp distinction between memory-situations and 
perceptual situations. For, on the sensum theory, the 



/ 



230 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

objective constituents of perceptual situations are sensa ; 
and there are reasons for thinking that sensa are, in 
some degree, dependent on the body and perhaps on 
the mind of the percipient. 

We may sum up the discussion as follows : (i) The 
objective constituents of all memory-situations may very 
well be private, in the sense that they are existentially 
or qualitatively dependent on the body or the mind of 
the subject. But much the same may be said of the 
objective constituents of perceptual situations. (2) The 
epistemological objects of some memory-situations (viz., 
of those in which we claim to remember a feeling or 
a perceptual situation) are undoubtedly private and 
personal. (3) The epistemological objects of other 
memory-situations (viz., of those in which we claim to 
remember a physical thing or event), are, on the face 
of them, as public and neutral as those of perceptual 
situations. It is true that the range of physical events 
and things which anyone can remember is limited by 
his past perceptions ; but it is equally true that the 
range of things and events which he can perceive is 
limited by his sensations. And in neither case does 
this render the objects themselves private or personal 
in their essence. (4) There is a certain theory about 
memory according to which all that is primarily and 
strictly remembered is past perceptual situations of 
which the experiment was subject. On this theory it 
would be true that the prima?-}' epistemological objects 
of all memory-situations are private and personal to the 
experient. (5) Even if this extreme view be not taken 
it remains possible that all memory-situations have a 
complex epistemological object, one part of which is a 
past perceptual situation. If this be so there will be 
something personal and private in the complete episte- 
mological object of every memory-situation, although 
there will also be something which is public and neutral 
in the epistemological objects of memories of physical 
things and events. 



MEMORY 231 

General Analysis of a Memory -Situation. I propose 1 
now to analyse a typical perceptual memory-situation, '% M. 9^*^ 
having a physical thing or event for its epistemological "tST 

object. I shall begin with a rough general analysis, in 
which I shall try to bring out the apparent analogies 
between such a situation and a typical perceptual 
situation. I shall then go into greater detail about 
certain special points where the two kinds of situation 
seem to differ fundamentally from each other. Let us 
compare the two situations which are expressed re- 
spectively by the two phrases : "I am remembering the 
tie which my friend wore yesterday " and " I am seeing 
a certain penny." 

(i) Both are plainly situations with epistemological 
objects, and in both cases the epistemological object is 
known as soon as we understand the phrase which 
expresses the situation. In both cases the fact that the 
situation has such and such an epistemological object is 
wholly independent of the question whether there is an 
ontological object which accurately corresponds with 
the former. Here I must make much the same warning 
about the use of words as I did when discussing per- 
ception. There are memory-situations which we have 
good reason to think delusive ; e.g.^ George IV used to 
say that he remembered leading a charge at the Battle 
of Waterloo, and there is every reason to believe that 
he was never within a hundred miles of the battle. 
Now in common speech we should be inclined to say 
that he did not "really remember" the event in question, 
just as we are inclined to say that the drunkard does 
not "really see" pink rats. But in both cases this is 
to mix up psychological, epistemological, and onto- 
logical considerations in a way which is most detri- 
mental to philosophical discussion. Assuming that the 
First Gentleman in Europe was correctly describing his 
state of mind, he was subject of a situation which has 
just as good a right to be called a memory-situation as 
a veridical memory of the Duke of Wellington on the 



4 



232 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

same subject-matter. It was a situation with a certain 
epistemological object, a certain kind of objective con- 
stituent, a certain kind of subjective constituent, and a 
certain characteristic kind of reference. There is noth- 
ing to distinguish it from what we should unhesitatingly 
call a memory-situation in the case of the Duke of 
Wellington, except that there probably is an onto- 
logical object accurately corresponding to the Duke's 
situation and that there almost certainly is not an 
ontological object corresponding to the King's. I 
therefore propose to call all such situations "memory- 
situations ", regardless of whether there is or is not 
reason to think them delusive. 

(2) In both cases, and for similar reasons, it is im- 
possible to hold that the ontological object, even if 
there be one which accurately corresponds to the episte- 
mological object, is literally and bodily a constituent of 
the situation. The most that we could plausibly hold 
in either case is that each situation contains an objective 
constituent which is literally a slice of the history of an 
ontological object that corresponds accurately to the 
epistemological object of the situation. The objective 
constituent of the perceptual situation in our example 
is a certain patch which looks brown and elliptical. 
To make the analogy as close as possible we will 
suppose that, when I am remembering my friend's tie, 
a visual image of it is before my mind. And we will 
take this visual image to be the objective constituent 
of the memory situation. Now the strongest claim that 
the perceptual situation can or does make is that this 
patch which looks brown and elliptical is literally a 
contemporary slice of the history of a certain enduring 
physical object, viz., the penny. And the strongest 
claim that the memory-situation could make with any 
plausibility is that the visual image is literally a past 
slice of the history of a certain enduring physical object, 
viz., my friend's tie. Whether it is any part of the 
memory-situation to make even this claim we shall have 



MEMORY 233 

to discuss later. But it certainly does not and cannot 
claim more than this. 

(3) An essential feature in both kinds of situation is 
a belief which refers beyond the situation and its con- 
stituents. This belief may not be explicitly formulated ; 
but we are ready to act in accordance with it if occasion 
arises, and we are surprised if the results are such as 
would conflict with this belief. It is an essential factor 
in the perceptual situation that we believe that the 
penny now exists and that it is now manifesting certain 
aspects of itself to us. It is an essential factor in the 
memory-situation that we believe that the tie has existed 
and that a certain past phase of its history is now being- 
manifested to us again. I leave the precise content of 
the memory-belief for more detailed discussion later. 

(4) In both cases we may say that the belief is (a) 
based upon the existence and character of the objective 
constituent ; {/?) refers beyond it to something which is 
not a constituent ; but (c) is not reached by a process 
of deductive or inductive inference from the existence 
and nature of the objective constituent. Memory-beliefs, 
like perceptual beliefs, not only are not reached by 
inference from the objective constituent of the situation 
but cannot be supported by such inference without 
logical circularity. When I remember the tie which 
my friend wore yesterday I do not first notice an image 
of a certain characteristic shape, colour, etc. ; then 
recollect the general principle that the power to have 
an image always originates in a past perceptual experi- 
ence whose objective constituent resembles the image ; 
and then infer from these two premises that there must 
have existed a certain tie and that I must have seen it. 
And, if 1 did profess to reach my memory-judgments 
by an inference of this kind, the validity of my argu- 
ment would be open to the following attack. How do 
I come to know the general principle that all images 
are copies of past sensa, which is an essential premise 
of the supposed inference? If we say that the general 



\ 



234 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

principle is established inductively, we must suppose 
that there are so/ue cases in which we can remember 
a past sensum, compare it with a present image, and 
notice that the latter resembles the former. Now these 
instances will be useless for establishing the general 
principle unless, in tkese cases at any rate, we can 
remember the past sensum without using the general 
principle and making an inference from it. It would 
therefore be impossible to establish the general principle 
inductively unless there be some non-inferential memory- 
judgments about past sensa. The only way of avoiding 
this objection would be to take the desperate step of 
saying that we know a priori that every image must be 
a copy of a past sensum, and that the power to call 
up an image must have originated through the sensing 
of this sensum. It seems to me quite plain that this 
principle is not a priori ; and I do not know that anyone 
has ever asserted that it is so. Even Mr Hume, who 
had a conviction on the subject which seems to me to 
be quite unintelligible on his own principles, cannot 
have regarded the proposition as a priori ; since he 
recognises and discusses the possibility of exceptions 
to it in the case of images of certain shades of colour. 

Of course I am not maintaining that particular memory- 
judgments, like particular perceptual judgments, may 
not be supported or refuted by argument. They cer- 
tainly can be. But the arguments always presuppose 
other memory-judginehTs" which" must simply beacaepted 
on their own merits. If I claim to remember that my 
friend was wearing a tie of such and such a kind yester- 
day, and I find that he and other people who saw him 
agree with me, my memory-judgment will be supported. 
If I find that they disagree with me and agree with 
each other, my memory -judgment will be rendered 
improbable. But, in using this test, I presuppose the 
validity of their memory-judgments. Again, when I 
claim to remember a certain event, I may test my judg- 
ment by inferring what events would be likely to follow 



MEMORY 



235 



such an event as I claim to be remembering. If I find 
that I can remember and perceive these consequences, 
my memory-judgment will be supported by inference. 
If I find that I remember and perceive events which 
are incompatible with these, my memory-judgment will 
be made improbable. But, even when I test the 
memory-judgment by present perception and not by 
memory, I presuppose the general validity of my 
memory-judgments. For I start by inferring that I 
shall be likely to perceive so-and-so if the event which 
I claim to remember really happened. And, if the 
chain of inference be of any length, my guarantee for 
the conclusion is my memory that the earlier stages of 
the argument satisfied me. In exactly the same way 
we may support or refute particular perceptual judg- 
ments by argument ; but these arguments always pre- 
suppose the general validity of perceptual judgments and 
the validity of certain particular perceptual judgments 
made by myself or others. 

(5) We see then that memory-judgments, like per- 
ceptual judgments, are "direct" or "immediate", in 
the sense that they are not in fact reached by inference 
from the nature and existence of the objective con- 
stituent of the situation, and that any such inference 
would be logically circular. But there was another 
sense in which we said that perceptual situations were 
direct and immediate. We contrasted the two state- 
ments : "I am hearing the bell " and "I am thinking 
about the bell " ; and we said that the perceptual situa- 
tion claimed to bring us into more direct cognitive 
contact with objects than the thought-situation. This 
we expressed by calling perceptual situations " intuitive " 
and thought-situations "discursive". Of course per- 
ceptual judgments (like all judgments, whether reached 
by inference or not) are "about" their subjects. But, 
in the perceptual situation, we claim to be also in 
peculiarly direct contact with the subject which the 
perceptual judgment is about. Now, very closely 



) T 



236 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

connected with this is the fact that the perceptual 
judgment is "sensuous". I think that the intuitive 
character of the perceptual situation lies in the fact 
that we are directly acquainted with the objective 
constituent, and that this constituent is regarded as 
being literally a part of the physical object which we 
are said to be perceiving. Can we say that the typical 
perceptual memory-situation is intuitive and sensuous? 
(i) Ordinary language suggests that the memory- 
situation is intuitive and not discursive. We say " I 
remember my friend's tie", just as we say "I see my 
friend's tie". In neither case does the verbal expres- 
sion for the situation contain a preposition like " about " 
before the phrase which stands for the epistemological 
object, (ii) The memory-situation often does contain 
as its objective constituent a visual or auditory image ; 
and an image is obviously very much like a sensum. 
Nevertheless, it is not clear to me that the memory- 
situation is so obviously intuitive and sensuous as the 
perceptual situation. The connexion between the 
image and the remembered object seems much looser 
than the connexion between the sensum and the per- 
ceived object. In some cases the objective-constituent 
'^*>4^ \ seems to be merely images of words ; and in that case 
we cannot claim to be in direct contact with a past slice 
I of the history of an object. And, even when the image 
is visual and is held to resemble a past phase of the 
remembered object, it is not clear to me that we claim 
that it is literally a part of the past history of the object. 
Thus we come here to a point at which the analogy 
between perceptual situations and perceptual memory- 
situations begins to fail. In the next section I propose 
to consider in more detail certain points, such as this, 
in which there seem to be essential differences between 
the two. 

More detailed Discussion of certain Points. Under this 
heading I shall consider two closely connected points, 
viz., (i) the precise content of the memory-belief; and 



MEMORY 237 

(ii) the nature of the objective constituent and its con- 
nexion with the epistemological object. When I speak 
of the "content" of a memory-belief or a perceptual 
belief I mean the propositions which are believed in the 
typical memory- or perceptual situation. Now, in com- 
paring the content of a memory-belief with that of a 
perceptual belief, there are two points to be considered. 
(a) Does the total content of one include some pro- 
position to which nothing corresponds in the total 
content of the other? and {b) How far are the parts 
which may fairly be said to correspond analogous to 
each other? The latter question forms a transition to 
the question of the nature of the objective constituent 
of a memory-situation and its connexion with the 
epistemological object. 

(i, a) When I am the subject of a perceptual situation 
I believe that such and such an event is happening and 
that it is part of the history of a certain physical object 
which still exists. But, so long as I merely perceive 
and do not begin to reflect on my perception, I do not 
believe anything about myself and my cognitive situa- 
tions. When I am the subject of a perceptual memory- 
situation I believe that such and such an event has 
happened, and that it was part of the history of a certain 
physical object which may or may not still exist. This 
part of the content of the memory-belief is evidently 
analogous to the content of the perceptual belief. But 
is it the whole of the content of the memory-belief? 
When I remember an event do I not also always believe 
that I have perceived it as well as that it has happened? 
If so, there is an essential part of the content of every 
memory-belief which refers to myself and my past 
perceptual situations ; and there is nothing analogous 
to this in the content of the perceptual belief. 

There is, I think, no doubt that in most memory- 
situations 1 judge, not merely that "This happened 
before", but also that " I have perceived this before" ; 
and that neither of these judgments is inferred from 



Ii 



-f' 



238 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

the other or from anything else. And I suppose that 
I could hardly judge that *' I have perceived this before " 
without, ipso facto, judging that "This has happened 
before." The only question then is this: Are there 
any memory-situations in which I judge that "This 
% happened before" and do not judge, in the same in- 
tuitive and non-inferential way, that " I have perceived 
this before"? I find this question very difficult to 
decide, for the following reasons. 

In the first place, every one believes that, under 
normal circumstances, we cannot have direct and non- 
inferential knowledge of a past event unless we have 
in fact at some time perceived it. If we ask what can 
be the evidence for this universal belief, I think we 
shall find that it has two sources. (i) It is quite 
certain that, in the vast majority of cases in which I 
remember an event, I do also remember perceiving it. 
We might induce from this that, in all cases in which 
I remember an event, I must have perceived it ; though, 
in a small minority, there are special circumstances 
which prevent me from remembering my perception of 
it. (2) We have a great difficulty in conceiving the 
causal mechanism by which we could have direct and 
non-inferential knowledge of a past event which we had 
never perceived. When we perceive anything we have 
a sensation, and this involves a characteristic change 
in our bodies. We think of this change as leaving a 
persistent "trace" in our bodies or minds or both, and 
we think of this trace as carrying with it the permanent 
possibility of intuitively apprehending the past event. 
But, if the event did not affect our bodies or our minds 
when it happened, we find it hard to conceive that it 
should be causally possible to have subsequent direct 
knowledge of the event. For my own part I think that 
there is decent evidence that, in certain abnormal cases, 
people do have direct knowledge of certain past events 
which they never perceived in their present bodily life. 
But the evidence is not known to most people ; the 



MEMORY 239 

phenomenon, if genuine at all, is very rare ; and those 
who are acquainted with the alleged facts would admit 
that it is dangerous to put too much weight on them. 
I think then that we may start by accepting the follow- 
ing propositions, one about a matter of fact and the 
other about the usage of words, (i) It is almost univers- 
ally held that we cannot have direct knowledge of a 
past event unless we have in fact perceived it, whether 
we remember doing so or not. And (2) if cases could be 
produced in which there was direct knowledge of unper- 
ceived past events, we should refuse to call such know- 
ledge "memory". It is part of the meaning of the 
word "memory" that a perceptual memory-situation 
shall in fact be due to a past perceptual situation of 
the same subject. The question that remains is : Do 
situations ever arise in which a past event, which has 
in fact been perceived by us, is remembered whilst our 
perception of it is not remembered? And would such 
a situation be called a " memory-situation "? 

I think it is certain that situations sometimes arise 
which it would be natural to describe as follows: "I 
remember that man's face, though I do not remember 
seeing it before." No doubt we should immediately 
add: "I must have seen it before." But this word 
"must" is the mark of an inferential belief, not of a 
direct intuitive one ; and no doubt the inference is made 
from the generally accepted premise that I cannot re- 
member anything unless I have at some time perceived 
it. Now, if this phraseology is to be taken at its face 
value, such situations are called "memory-situations", 
and the content of the memory-belief does not include 
the proposition: "I have seen this before." But I 
am not at all sure that this is the right interpretation. 
Memory-beliefs may be of various degrees of determin- 
ateness in at least three respects. In the first place, we 
may have a more or less determinate memory-belief 
about the qualities of the remembered object. We may, 
e.g.^ remember that it was brick-red, or only that it had 



^ 



240 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

some shade or other of red, or only that it was either 
red or green. Secondly, we may have a more or less 
determinate memory-belief about the spatial relations 
and contemporary context of the remembered object. 
E.g., we may remember that it was to the right of the 
fireplace in a certain room, or only that it was some- 
where in this room, or only that it was somewhere in 
some room of a certain house, and so on. Lastly, we 
may have a more or less determinate memory of the 
temporal relations and the earlier and later context of 
the remembered object. We may remember that it 
happened just before dinner on Monday last, or that 
it happened some time last Monday, or only that it 
happened some time last week. Now it seems to me 
quite likely that, when we say that we remember a 
certain physical event or thing and that we do not re- 
member perceiving it, we really mean only that our 
memory of our past perceptual situation is extremely 
indeterminate in these three respects whilst our memory 
of the event or thing is relatively determinate. 

On this view the total belief which accompanies 
J' a memory-situation may always include a_ .genuine 
•^ memory-belief about our own past perception ; but in 
certain cases the latter may be so extremely indeter- 
minate that we say that we remember only the physical 
event and not the past perception of it. We must, how- 
ever, recognise the following argument which favours 
the opposite view. Since we all believe strongly that 
nothing can be remembered unless it has been perceived 
by us, we shall almost inevitably infer when we remem- 
ber an event that we must have perceived it. And we 
may very well confuse this natural and immediate in- 
ference with a genuine memory-belief; and thus think 
that the proposition : "I have perceived this " was part 
of the content of the original memory-belief, when really 
it is a reflective and inferential addition. In view of 
these two considerations which point in opposite direc- 
tions I do not feel able to make up my mind on the 



MEMORY 241 

question ; and I must content myself with saying that 
the majority of memory-situations do include a non- 
inferential belief that the remembered object has been 
perceived by us ; and that this belief may be of any 
degree of indeterminateness. I think, however, that 
the discussion is enough to refute a view which was 
mentioned as possible earlier in the chapter ; viz., that 
what we primarily remember is always our own past 
perceptual situations, and that our knowledge of the 
past physical events which we are said to *' remember" 
is derived from our memory of the perceptual situations 
of which these events were the epistemological objects. 
It is difficult to see how highly determinate beliefs 
about a past physical event could be derived from a 
knowledge of the situation in which it was perceived 
which is so indeterminate that many people deny its 
existence. 

(i, b and ii) We have now to consider how far the 
memory-belief that " This physical event happened and 
formed part of the history of a certain physical object " 
is analogous to the perceptual belief that " This physical 
event is happening and is a contemporary part of the 
history of a certain physical object." It is hardly 
possible to discuss this question apart from that of the 
nature of the objective constituent and its relation to the 
epistemological object. I shall therefore take (i, b) and 
(ii) together. There are, as usual, two questions, one 
purely psychological and the other epistemological. 
The purely psychological question is: "What does 
the memory-situation claim to be the connexion between 
its objective constituent and its epistemological object ? " 
The epistemological question is: "What view about 
the connexion between the two can be justified in face 
of all the known facts?" I shall defer the second 
question to the next section. 

I will begin by taking a case where the memory 
involves an imitative image. I will suppose that I am 
remembering my friend's tie, in his absence ; and that 

G 



242 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

I have an imitative visual image of a tie. This makes 
the analogy to sense-perception as close as possible ; 
so that any differences that we may discover will be 
fundamental. Let us then contrast this situation with 
that of seeing a penny, and judging that it is brown 
and round. I will suppose that I judge that my friend's 
tie was red. Now I think that the most notable differ- 
ence between the two cases is the following. When I 
am simply seeing a penny and making perceptual 
judgments about it, and am not philosophising, I draw 
no distinction between the objective constituent of the 
situation and the surface of the penny. I am acquainted 
with a certain particular (the objective constituent) ; I 
regard it as part of the surface of the penny, and I 
regard the qualities which seem to be sensuously mani- 
fested by it to me as, ipso facto^ qualities of the penny. 
It is true that I find on careful inspection and reflection 
that the qualities which I have been ascribing to the 
penny are not exactly those that are sensuously mani- 
fested to me in this situation, and that there are strong 
reasons for refusing to identify the objective constituent 
with the surface of the penny. But these views are 
reached only by careful and critical reflection, and they 
exist only while we are reflecting. They vanish at once 
when we again begin to perceive, and the naively 
realistic view is reinstated as if it had never been 
questioned. Now it seems to me that, when I remember 
my friend's tie by means of an imitative image, I do not 
regard the image as literally a part of the surface of the 
tie which existed yesterday, and I do not regard the 
qualities which seem to be sensuously manifested to me 
in the image as, ipso facto, qualities formerly possessed 
by the tie. So far as I can judge, the perceptual 
situation definitely identifies its objective constituent 
with a contemporary part of the perceived object, whilst 
the memory-situation ?ieither identifies the image with a 
past part of the object nor definitely distinguishes the 
two. The memory-judgment most certainly is not : 



MEMORY 243 

"This, which I am now acquainted with, is a part of 
the tie as it was." But it also is not : ''This, which I 
am now acquainted with, is numerically different from 
but qualitatively similar to a part of the tie as it was." 
It seems to me that both these suggested judgments are 
reflective theories about the memory-situation, and not 
judgments which form an essential factor in the memory- 
situation itself. While we are actually living through 
the memory-situation, and not philosophising about it, 
the belief that we have is vaguer than either of these 
suggested beliefs. If we want to put into words we 
must use some such formula as follows : "There is some 
peculiarly intimate relation between this, which I am 
now acquainted with, and a certain part of the tie as it 
was." And this statement must be taken neither to 
assert nor to deny that the two may be numerically 
identical. 

The difference which I have been trying to indicate 
between the memory-situation and the perceptual situa- 
tion may be expressed as follows. Naive Realism is 
not merely a theory about perception ; it is the explicit 
formulation of the belief which forms an essential part of 
the perceptual situation as such. But Naive Realism 
is merely a theory about memory, just as the Sensum 
Theory is a theory about perception. All that the , 
memory-situation itself claims is that somehow X\\q^ image / 
enables us to have an intuitive non-inferential knowledge ■ 
of the occurrence of a certain past event and of some of 
its qualities and relations. That it enables us to do , 
this because it is numerically identical with the past '^ 
event is neither asserted nor denied in the memory- \ 
situation itself. It is perhaps worth while to make the 
following remark at this stage. The facts which make 
it difficult or impossible to accept on reflexion the 
naively realistic claims of perception are by no means 
obvious. In order to recognise them we have to inspect 
our sensa with special care ; to compare notes with 
others ; to know something of the physiology of the 



^^K 



244 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

nervous system, and of physical optics ; and so on. It 
is therefore plausible to suppose that, if we start with 
an innate tendency towards naively realistic perceptual 
beliefs, the tendency will be so strengthened by habit 
in childhood that no arguments will eradicate it in 
practice later on. But the difficulties about a naively 
realistic view of memory are glaring, and need no 
special knowledge or careful inspection to reveal them ; 
as we shall see in the next section. Hence, even if we 
started with a tendency to identify the memory-image 
with the remembered event (which there is no reason to 
think that we do), it seems doubtful whether it would 
survive the continual assaults of the objections which 
would arise almost automatically even in the least 
reflective mind. 

I have so far taken a case in which the objective 
constituent of the memory-situation is an imitative 
image, and have argued that even here it is no part of 
the memory-belief to claim that the image is numeric- 
ally identical with a certain slice of the past history of 
the remembered object. I wish now to consider cases 
in which the memory-situation does not contain an 
imitative image as a constituent. It seems certain that 
there are such cases ; and I think that a discussion of 
them will throw light on the part played by the imitative 
image in those cases where it is present. Even if it be 
granted that all perceptual memory-situations contain 
images of some kind as objective constituents and that 
these images play an analogous part to that which is 
played by sensa in perceptual situations, it must be 
granted that the connexion between the objective con- 
stituent and the epistemological object is much looser 
in the memory-situation than in the perceptual situation. 
I will now try to illustrate this point. 

Suppose that someone says to me: "Was the tie 
that your friend wore yesterday, red?" I may answer 
at once: "I remember quite distinctly that it was not 
red, but I cannot remember what its colour was." I 



MEMORY 245 

will call this a "negative memory-situation". Now 
there is nothing in perception which is strictly analogous 
to this. Of course, if my friend is wearing a green tie 
and I am looking at it and am not colour-blind, I can 
say: "I see plainly that his tie is not red." But I 
say that it is not red, and that I see that it is not, 
because I do see that it is green. I should never say 
that I see that it is not red unless I also saw that it 
had such and such another colour. The perceptual 
denial of a certain determinate colour depends upon 
the perceptual recognition of the presence of another 
determinate colour. But the memory-denial of a certain 
colour, so far from depending on the memory-recognition 
of another determinate colour, may precede the latter 
and may exist though the latter never supervenes on it. 
Now, in the negative memory-situation at least, the 
presence of an imitative image seems quite unnecessary. 
It may happen of course that, when the word "red" 
is mentioned by the questioner to me, I have a red 
image ; but, so long as I understand the meaning of 1 
the word "red" in mty way, the negative memory- 
situation may arise even though there is no red image. 
And in rnany cases I am quite sure that I understand 
the meaning of the word and that the memory-situation 
does arise in the absence of a red image. Again, it 
may of course happen that I have an image which does 
in fact resemble my friend's tie in colour ; though it 
is evident that I do not recognise the fact at the time. 
But it is quite certain that the presence of such an 
image is not essential to the negative memory-situation, 
and that the latter does in fact quite often arise in the 
absence of the former. 

When I try to analyse a negative memory-situation 
as carefully as I can the essential point about it seems 
to be the following. In some way or other a certain 
determinate characteristic is presented to me for con- 
sideration. It may be presented by an imitative image, 
or by actually hearing and understanding the word 




246 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

which stands for it without using an imitative image, 
or by calling up for myself an image of the sound or 
the appearance of this word. The method of presenta- 
tion seems to be absolutely unimportant so long as it 
succeeds in making me think of the characteristic in 
question. The other factor is that I then have a peculiar 
feeling which can only be described by the phrase : 
"This doesn't fit the object". Of course the feeling 
is one thing and the judgment is another ; but this is 
the kind of judgment which we consider to express 
and to be justified by this kind of feeling. Lastly, 
the belief that the characteristic does not fit the object 
is not based on a comparison with the object and its 
remembered characteristics. For, if it were, the negative 
memory-situation, like the negative perceptual judg- 
ment, could not exist apart from the corresponding 
positive situation ; whereas the former certainly can 
and does exist apart from the latter. The nearest 
analogy that I can give is that of trying a lock in the 
dark with a number of keys that do not fit it. 

Let us now consider a positive memory-situation. 
Suppose that I go on trying various suggested colours, 
red, blue, yellow, etc., and that they all fail to fit. 
At last, perhaps, I try green and I have a new and 
unique kind of feeling which I should express by the 
statement: "This fits the object". I then say that 
I remember that the tie was green. This feeling, which 
^ is naturally expressed by the judgment: "It fits the 
object", and is regarded as justifying that judgment, 
is the characteristic mark of a positive memory-situation. 
And up to this point no imitative image has been 
needed. There is no more need for the alternative 
which does fit to be presented for consideration by an 
imitative image than for the various alternatives which 
did not fit to be presented in this way. But at this 
point an imitative image very often does supervene ; 
and then I think we are said, not merely to remember 
things about the object, but in the strictest sense to 



«f 




MEMORY 247 

remember the object. (Of course, in a looser sense, 
we are said to remember an object provided we remember 
anything about it.) 

In the examples which I have just been giving we 
are supposed to be trying to remember something, and 
to succeed after failures. In other cases it seems to 
me that the imitative image comes first. It floats up ; 
we notice certain characteristics in it which are felt to 
fit a certain past object, and others which are felt not to 
fit it. And the two processes may happen alternately. 
I may begin by merely remembering things about an 
object ; then I may have an imitative image of it ; and 
finally I may read off from the image further char- 
acteristics which are felt to fit the object, and so may 
remember further things about it. The essential point 
is the felt fitting or non-fitting of suggested character- 
istics ; the wayTh which these characteristics are pre- 
sented for our consideration is of minor importance. 

I think that I can now state more clearly what seem A 

to me to be the essential points of difference between \ 
perceptual situations and even perceptual memory-situa- 
tions, (i) All perceptual denials are based upon per- 
ceptual affirmations of determinate characteristics which 
are incompatible with the characteristic which is denied. 
But there are independent memory-denials, which are 
not based in this way on corresponding memory- 
affirmations. This fact should lead us to suspect that 
there may be important differences between positive 
memory - situations and positive perceptual situations 
even where they seem most alike. (2) It is true 
that we say both that we perceive objects and that 
we perceive propositions about objects. I see a tie, 
and I see that the tie is green. But the latter is re- 
garded as dependent on the former. When I say that 
I perceive a tie I do not seem to mean merely that 
I know various propositions by perception, such as 
''This is green", "This is long and thin" ; that all 
these propositions have a common subject ; and that 



J 



248 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

the tie is known only as the common subject of all 
these perceptually known propositions. On the con- 
trary I claim to be directly acquainted with a part of 
the tie ; and the propositions which I claim to perceive 
about it seem to be "read off" from the object itself. 
The object (or, at any rate, a literal part of it) seems to 
be "given" bodily; and the perceptual judgments 
profess to " analyse " it. Now, in spite of some appear- 
ances to the contrary I believe that the opposite is true 
of perceptual memory. I believe that what is primarily 
known by memory is propositions like "This was 
green ", " This was long and thin ", etc. ; and that this is 
true both in positive and in negative memory-situations. 
Certain groups of such propositions are recognised to 
have a common subject; and the object is "remem- 
bered " only in so far as it is known as the common 
subject of such a group of remembered propositions. 
(3) In many cases an imitative image of the remembered 
object supervenes at this stage ; and in some cases 
such an image comes first, and the characteristics which 
are asserted or denied in the memory-judgments are 
presented to our attention by it. It is in this last case 
that perceptual memory is most like perception ; but 
even here it does not seem to me that we claim to be 
in direct cognitive contact with an actual fragment of 
the past history of the object and to be "reading off" 
the memory - propositions from this fragment. (4) 
The essential factor in the memory - situation is that 
peculiar feeling which seems to justify the judgment 
that a certain characteristic fits or fails to fit a certain 
past object. The characteristic need not be, and 
generally is not, presented to our attention by means of 
imitative images. And the object which the character- 
istic is felt to fit or fail to fit is not cognised by direct and 
sensuous acquaintance, as it seems to be in sense-per- 
ception, but is presented only to thought as the subject 
of such and such propositions. 

Thus, although perceptual memory agrees with 



MEMORY 249 

sense-perception in the fact that the memory -judg- 
ment, like the perceptual judgment, is not infer- 
ential, I believe that it differs from sense-perception 
in that it is not strictly intuitive or sensuous. Some 
perceptual memory - situations certainly seem at first 
sight to have these latter characteristics ; but it seems 
to me that careful inspection and comparison show that 
none of them really do so. And I think _that_ the 
function of imitative images in perceptual memory 
has been greatly exaggjsr9.ted. It is perhaps relevant 
to add that I am myself a strong visualiser, and that 
memory with me does in fact generally involve imitative 
imagery ; so, if I am wrong on this point, my mistake 
is certainly not due identifying a personal defect with 
a law of nature, as the Behaviourists do when they deny 
the existence of images. 

Episteviological Questions about Perceptual Memory. So 
far I have attempted nothing but a descriptive analysis 
of perceptual memory-situations, and a careful statement 
of what they really do claim. I must now consider 
what claims would \i^ justified ovi the part of the memory- 
situation. If I am right, the perceptual situation makes 
a stVohg"er claim than we can admit to be justified. 
For every perceptual situation claims that its objective 
constituent is literally a part of the perceived physical 
object; and this claim is certainly false in some cases 
and extremely hard to maintain in any. Now it is of 
course possible that the memory-situation goes to the 
other extreme and is too modest in its claims. If I am 
right, it does not claim that its objective constituent 
is literally a part of the past event which it remembers ; 
nevertheless this claim might be justified, and the New 
Realists may only be asking on behalf of the memory- 
situation what it is too modest to ask for itself. There 
are two reasons for wanting to be as realistic as possible 
about perception. One is that we are then running 
with the stream and defending what we all in fact 
believe except when we are philosophising. The other 



I 



250 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

is that the rejection of the claim of the objective con- 
stituent of a perceptual situation to be literally a part 
of the perceived physical object makes it hard to explain 
how we can possibly know that there are physical 
objects and that perception gives us trustworthy informa- 
tion about them. Now there is not the first motive for 
a naively realistic view of memory ; but there is no 
doubt the second motive. Unless the objective con- 
stituents of some memory-situations be literally identical 
with the events remembered, how, it might be asked, 
can we possibly know that there are past events and that 
memory gives us trustworthy information about them? 
What we have now to consider is whether any such 
claim could be admitted even if it were made. 

I will first try to show, as I did in the case of percep- 
tion, that, even if the naively realistic _YLew_cquld be 
accepted, it would by itself go biLt_a. sery_small way in 
meeting the attacks of a sceptic. To be sure that there 
are past events or that there are physical objects it is 
not enough to be acquainted directly with what is in 
fact a past event or a literal part of a physical object ; 
we need in some way to know that this is what we 
are acquainted with. Now, if there were no delusive 
memory-situations, or if it were found on careful in- 
spection that those which are delusive differ internally 
from those which are not, it might be suggested that 
every memory-situation is accompanied by a kind of 
infallible revelation that its objective constituent is 
literally identical with some past event. But it is 
certain that there are totally delusive memory-situations, 
such as that of which George IV was subject. And it 
is certain that there is no inner difference which dis- 
tinguishes them from memory-situations which are 
commonly believed to be veridical. Hence we must 
■ deny that there is an infallible revelation that we are in 
direct contact with the past in any case. And, in the 
absence of this, the mere fact (if it be a fact) that the 
objective constituents of some memory-situations are 



MEMORY 251 

actually past events does not explain how we know that 
there are past events or how we know that we have 
trustworthy information through memory about some 
of them. We shall still have to rely entirely on the 
external tests of agreement or disagreement of one 
memory-judgment with others, and of agreement or dis- 
agreement between inferences from memory-judgments 
and present perceptions. 

The most that we can say then is that the claim which 
the extreme realists make for the memory-situation may 
sometimes be true, though it is certainly sometimes 
false. Can we go so far even as this? (i) I will first 
mention the only point, so far as I am aware, on which 
the memory-situation is in a stronger position than the 
perceptual situation in making such a claim. There is 
nothing in memory corresponding to the systematic 
difference in the apparent shapes and sizes of perceived 
objects when viewed by observers from different positions. 
Now it was this which made it so very hard to believe 
that the objective constituent of a visual situation can 
be literally a part of the surface of the perceived 
physical object. Nevertheless there often are positive 
discrepancies between different people who profess to be 
remembering the same event, and between successive 
memories of the same event by the same person. The 
mere fading of details as the event retreats further into 
the past presents no particular difficulty for a naively 
realistic view of memory ; but the memory of details 
which are positively inconsistent with each other on 
different occasions when we profess to be remembering 
the same event does present a very serious difficulty. 

(2) I will now consider the special objections which 
might be made against a naively realistic theory of 
memory. (c^) The first is a general metaphysical 
objection, which I believe to be baseless. It might be 
said that, when an event is past, it ceases to exist. 
Now, when I am remembering a past event, the memory- 
situation certainly exists and so does its objective con- 



/ 



tjh'r^^* 



5:^^^- 



252 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

stituent. Hence, it is said, the objective constituent of 
a memory-situation cannot be identical with the past 
event which is being remembered. This objection 
seems to me to be mistaken. It depends on a view 
of time and change which I am forced to reject. It 
appears to me that, once an event has happened, it 
exists eternally ; all fhat happens henceforth to it is 
that, as more and more events occur and take their 
permanent place in the ever-lengthening temporal order 
of the universe, it retreats into the more and more 
distant past. If an event ceased to exist as soon as it 
ceased to be present it plainly could no longer stand in 
any relations to anything. But, when we say that it 
is past, we imply that it does stand in the relation of 
temporal precedence to the present ; moreover, we say 
that one past event precedes a second past event and 
follows a third. All such statements would be non- 
sensical if events ceased to exist when they ceased to be 
present. It is perfectly true that certain objects which 
have existed {e.g:, the town of Old Sarum) have ceased 
to /^rsist. But this means only that after a certain 
time none of the events which happened were such as 
to continue the history of these particular objects ; the 
earlier series of events which constitute the history of 
such objects are nevertheless a permanent part of the 
universe, considered as an existent which is extended 
in time. There is then no general metaphysical ob- 
jection to a naively realistic view of memory. East 
events are always " there " waiting to be remembered, 
and there is no a priori reason why they should not 
from time to time enter into such a relation with certain 
present events that they become objects of direct ac- 
quaintance. There is no a priori reason why a cognitive 
relation should not bridge a temporal gap, and connect 
a present mental event with a past event of any kind 
whatever. 

{b) The second difficulty is much more serious. 
Suppose that I remember the same event on several 



MEMORY 253 

occasions, and that the objective constituent of each of 
these memory-situations is an imitative image. If the 
naively realistic theory of memory be right, this image 
is literally and numerically the same in all cases ; it is 
the past event or a part of it ; and so its date is that of 
the past event. On the other hand, the image certainly 
seems to be present on each occasion ; and we should 
certainly judge that we were concerned with as many 
different and successive images as there are different 
and successive memory-situations, even though all these 
images were exactly alike in their qualities. Again, 
suppose that when I perceived the event I had a twinge 
of toothache ; and that when I first remembered it I 
had no toothache, but a tickling sensation in my throat. 
I should certainly judge that the original event was 
contemporary with this twinge of toothache and pre- 
ceded the tickling sensation. And I should certainly 
judge that the image was contemporary with the tickling 
sensation and not with the twinge of toothache. If the 
naively realistic view of memory be true it would seem 
that the same event can be both contemporary with a 
certain other event and can also succeed this event by a 
long interval. 

The present difficulty is evidently analogous to that 
which arises on the naively realistic theory of perception 
over mirror-images and "seeing double". There we 
seem to see an object in a place which is remote from 
its real position, or we seem to see several distinct 
though qualitatively similar objects in different places, 
whilst the theory requires that there shall be only one. 
Here we seem to be aware of a series of distinct images 
which are separated in time, whilst the theory requires 
that the objective constituents of all the memory- 
situations shall be numerically identical and shall have 
a certain one date in the past. In face of this situation 
the naively realistic theory of memory might take one 
of three courses, (i) It might suggest that the image 
only seems to be present, whereas it is really past ; and 



254 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

that it only seems contemporary with the tickling 
sensation, whereas it really precedes it and is con- 
temporary with the twinge of toothache. Or (ii) it 
might suggest that we are using words in an ambiguous 
way. Perhaps when we say that the image is present 
and the original event is past we are using "present" 
in one sense and ''past" in another. The statements 
may then be compatible with each other. And the 
same explanation may apply to the statements that the 
image is contemporary with a tickling sensation, whilst 
the original event is contemporary with a twinge of 
toothache and precedes the tickling sensation. E.g.^ 
the two statements: "Napoleon was greater than Og, 
King of Bashan " and : "Napoleon was less than Og, 
King of Bashan " may both be true if one refers to 
their relative heights and the other to their respective 
achievements. Or (iii) it might suggest that we are 
not using words ambiguously, but that temporal 
relations are not dyadic, so that the minimum complete 
statement about the temporal relations of two events is 
of the form : ";f is contemporary with jj^ (or precedes, or 
follows 7') with respect to r." In that case, when we say 
that the image is contemporary with the tickling sensa- 
tion whilst the original event precedes the tickling 
sensation, both statements may be true even though the 
image is identical with the original event. For we may 
be using a different third term of reference in the two 
cases. 

I think it is possible that when we say that an image 
is obviously present each time we remember a certain 
event we may only be justified in saying that it is 
presented ea.ch. time, i.e., that it is an objective constituent 
of each situation and an object of acquaintance. Now 
" being present^*^" is certainly one of the tests that we 
use for " being pres^^^"" ; but it may not be an infallible 
test. Now of course, on the usual view of time, the same 
event cannot be present more than once ; but there is no 
a priori reason why it might not be presented to ac- 



MEMORY 255 

quaintance dozens of times, and it is of the essence of 
the naively realistic theory of memory to hold that this 
actually happens. Suppose then that, when we say 
that the image is present, we are justified only in saying 
that it is presented. If we think that it is present we 
shall infer that we must be dealing with a different 
image on each, occurrence of the memory -situation. 
And yet really we may be dealing with a single entity 
which is presented many times but is present only 
once. I think it must be admitted that we have not 
the same direct and overpowering evidence that we are 
acquainted with a number of different images in a series 
of memory-situations with the same epistemological 
object, as we have for saying that we are acquainted 
with two distinct sensa when we "see double". In the 
latter case it is certain that no inference is involved ; 
nothing is needed but inspection. In the former case I 
am not at all certain that the statement is guaranteed by 
inspection ; I think that it may well rest on inference. 
And, as I have just pointed out, the premise of the 
inference might be derived from an uncritical jump from 
*' presentedness " to " presentness." Similarly, when 
we say that the image is contemporary with the tickling 
sensation, we may only be justified in saying that both 
are presented together. And it may be that co- 
presentedness, though a test for co-presence, is not an 
infallible test. The original event might be presented 
(in perception) along with a twinge of toothache and 
apart from a tickling sensation, and it may be again 
presented (in memory) along with a tickling sensation 
and apart from a twinge of toothache. If we think that 
co-presentation is an infallible sign of co- presence we 
shall be forced to distinguish between the original event 
and the memory - image of it, or else to hold that 
simultaneity is a triadic relation. But, if we admit that 
the two relations are different, and that the former is not 
an infallible sign of the latter, we could hold that one 
and the same event is objective constituent of the 



256 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

original perceptual situation and of the subsequent 
memory-situation. This event is both co-present and 
co-presented with the twinge of toothache, whilst it is 
co-presented but not co- present with the tickling 
sensation. Thus I think that the naively realistic 
theory of memory could answer the present objection ; 
provided it is allowed to distinguish bet^yeen presentness 
and presentedness and between co-presence and co- 
presentedness, to hold that the latter can occur without 
the former, and to hold that one and the same event 
can be presented at various times to the same mind. 
This last point leads us to the third possible objection. 

(c) It is commonly held that the past cannot change. 
Would the naively realistic theory of memory be con- 
sistent with this doctrine? And, if it is not, ought we 
unhesitatingly to reject it? We must begin by dis- 
tinguishing between pure qualities and relations. I 
think that every one would admit that an event cannot 
change in respect of any pure quality which it had when 
it happened. If it was, e.g., a red flash, it cannot cease 
to be red and become green. Again, I think it would 
be admitted that an event cannot change its relations, 
in the sense of ceasing to be related in a certain way 
to contemporary or earlier events and becoming related 
in different ways to them. But it seems to me that 
events can and do change, in the sense that they acquire 
additional relations through the occurrence of later 
events. This seems to me quite clear about temporal 
and causal relations. Queen Anne's death now precedes 
Queen Victoria's by so many years, and will do so for 
ever ; but there was a time when Queen Anne's death 
preceded nothing. And, until Queen Victoria had 
died. Queen Anne's death stood in no relation whatever 
to the event which we now call "Queen Victoria's 
death". For there was then no such event; and an 
event cannot stand in any relation to a mere nonentity. 
Again, Queen Anne's death caused a feeling of annoy- 
ance in the Duke of Berwick when he heard of it ; but 



MEMORY 257 

it certainly did not stand in the causal relation to the 
Duke's feeling of annoyance until the Duke began to 
feel annoyed, which he did not until he heard of the 
death. There is then, in my opinion, no objection to 
holding that past events change, in the sense of ac- 
quiring relations to events which follow them. And 
this is the only kind of change in past events which the 
naively realistic theory of memory absolutely requires. 
It requires that the same event shall from time to time 
become a constituent of successive memory-situations. 
But the memory - situations are simply fresh events 
which happen after the remembered event is past ; and 
whenever a past event is remembered it has simply 
acquired a relation to a certain later event, which it 
naturally could not do until that later event had 
happened. It is worth while to remark that even 
universals and_othe£_timeless entities can change in an 
analogous way to past events. The quality of redness 
is timeless ; nevertheless it sometimes characterises one 
thing, sometimes another, and sometimes perhaps 
nothing at all. Again, it is sometimes thought of by 
me, sometimes by you, and sometimes perhaps by no 
one at all. Thus even the timeless may acquire certain 
additional relational properties through the happening 
of new events ; and precisely the same is true of the 
past. It must be admitted then that the naively realistic 
theory of memory necessarily involves the proposition 
that past events change in certain respects ; but it must 
also be admitted that there is no objection to the kind 
of change which it involves in past events. This brings 
us to the last objection which I propose to consider. 

{d) If the objective constituent of a memory-situation 
were found to differ in some of its pure qualities from 
the remembered event, it would seem to be impossible 
to identify the two. For the attempt to do so would 
involve the proposition that a past event had changed 
in respect to some of its pure qualities. And this is 
plainly impossible. I want to make quite clear what 

R 



4 



258 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

kind of qualitative difference between memory-image 
and remembered event would be fatal to the naively 
realistic theory of memory, and what kind would not, 
before I consider whether such differences are actually 
found, (i) A visual sensum must in fact have some 
perfectly determinate shade of colour ; and so n3ust_a^ 
visual image. If the memory-image is to be incidental J 
with the remembered sensum it is impossible "flTanKe' 
determinate shade of the one should differ from that of 
the other. But it is one thing for a sensum or image 
to have such and such a determinate shade, and another 
thing for us to be able to judge that it has it. Our 
judgments about the determinate characteristics of an 
object may be of various degrees of determinateness, 
and they are no doubt never completely determinate. 
Now it might be that, when an event is presented in 
sensation, we are able to make more determinate judg- 
ments about its colour, for instance, than we can do 
when precisely the same event with precisely the same 
determinate shade of colour is presented in a memory- 
situation. If the only difference between the memory- 
situation and the corresponding perceptual situation is 
that the former permits of less determinate judgments 
about the same determinable characteristic than the 
latter, the memory-image and the remembered sensum 
may in fact be identical. But, if we can see that the 
image has a different determinate characteristic from 
the original sensum, the two cannot be identical ; and 
the naively realistic theory of memory falls to the ground, 
(ii) Much the same remarks apply to differences of 
internal detail or external relation between the original 
sensum and the memory-image. Both must, in fact, 
be perfectly determinate in these respects. If the 
difference merely is that we can detect more detail in 
the perceptual situation than we can in the memory- 
situation, the image and the sensum may be identical, 
and the naively realistic theory of memory may be true. 
But, if we can detect details in the images which differ 



MEMORY 259 

from and are inconsistent with those of the sensum, 
the two cannot be identical ; and the theory falls to 
the ground. What are the actual facts? 

In the first place, there is a systematic and directly 
noticeable difference between the corresponding char- 
acteristics of sensa and of images. An auditory image 
never sounds exactly like an auditory sensum, and a 
visual image never looks exactly like a visual sensum. 
No doubt there are marginal cases where this systematic 
difference is hard to detect. A very faint sensum may 
be hard to distinguish by its intrinsic qualities from an 
image, and a very vivid image may be hard to dis- 
tinguish by its intrinsic qualities from a sensum. But 
in general there is not the slightest difficulty in recog- 
nising that an image looks and sounds different from 
the sensum of which it is said to be a copy. Secondly, 
when I remember a thing or event by means of an 
imitative image, I can often say quite definitely that 
there are certain details in the image which are different 
from and inconsistent with corresponding details in the 
original. I may, e.g.^ call up an imitative image of my 
friend's head ; and I may be able to say with complete 
conviction: '*His hair is like that, but his nose is 
not of that shape." And, if I can often detect these 
positive differences of detail between the memory-image 
and the original, it is reasonable to suppose that they 
still more often exist when I cannot be sure that they 
do. Now it is impossible to believe that a past event 
actually undergoes a systematic change of intrinsic 
quality through lapse of time. And it is impossible to 
hold that a past event can undergo positive changes 
of internal detail through lapse of time. Hence we 
must either refuse to identify the memory-image with 
the remembered event ; or we must hold that the image 
can seem to have characteristics which differ from and 
are inconsistent with those which it really does have ; 
or that the characteristics which we detect when we are 
subjects of a memory-situation inhere in some different 



26o MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

way from those which we detected when we were subjects 
of a perceptual situation. These three alternatives are 
analogous to the three which presented themselves when 
we tried to be naively realistic about perception. 

I do not think that the theory of two kinds of inher- 
%, ence will help us in defending a naively realistic view 
of memory. It seems quite clear that, if the character- 
istics which we seem to detect in images really inhere 
in them at all, they inhere in them in precisely the same 
way in which the characteristics which we seem to 
detect in sensa inhere in the latter. There does not 
seem to be the least reason to believe that the " is " in 
the two propositions : " This sensum is red " and '* This 
image is green " stands for two different modes of inher- 
ence, such that the two statements would be compatible 
even though " This sensum" and "This image" were 
identical. A theory of triadic inherence for colours has 
a certain plausibility in dealing with perception, when 
we remember that the apparent colour of what we call 
"the same surface" varies according to the position 
and internal state of the percipient's body. But what 
is needed for the present purpose is that the colours, etc., 
which we detect when we are in a memory-situation 
shall inhere in some different way from the colours, etc., 
which we detect when we are in a perceptual situation. 
And we know of nothing that makes this suggestion 
plausible. I think then that we may rule out this line 
of defence for naive realism about memory. We are, 
therefore, reduced to saying that naive realism about 
memory is possible only on the supposition that memory- 
images can seem to have characteristics and details 
which are other than and inconsistent with those which 
they really do have. 

We must note that this last statement needs a little 
further refinement. The essential point is that, when I 
remember something which I have perceived, the objec- 
tive constituent of the memory-situation often seems to 
have characteristics and details which are, and are 



MEMORY 261 

recognised at the time to be, other than and incon- 
sistent with certain characteristics and details which 
the objective constituent of the perceptual situation 
seemed to have. I make this modification in case any- 
one accepts the theory that the objective constituent 
of a perceptual situation does not have the character- 
istics which it seems to have. Thus we may restate 
the position as follows. We can identify the memory- 
image with the original sensum only on the supposition 
that one and the same event can seem to have one set 
of details and characteristics when it is the objective 
constituent of a perceptual situation and can seem to 
have another set of details and characteristics, partly 
inconsistent with the former, when it is the objective 
constituent of a memory-situation. Moreover, I must 
be able to know, with regard to certain determinate 
characteristics which the object now seems to have, 
that it did not seem to have these and did seem to have 
others when I perceived it. E.g., I may remember my 
friend's face, and I may remember that when I saw 
him his hair appeared to be bright yellow and his nose 
straight. Yet the image (which, on the present theory, 
is identical with the past sensum) may seem to have 
hair of a washy straw-colour and a crooked nose. 

Now it is no doubt theoretically possible to hold that 
the sensum and the memory-image are numerically 
identical in spite of the inconsistency between their 
apparent determinate characteristics in the perceptual 
situation and in the memory-situation. But I fail to 
see what advantage accrues to the theory of memory 
from this supposed numerical identity. On any view . 
I manage somehow to remember the original apparent/ 
characteristics by means of the different and incompat-F 
ible apparent characteristics which are manifested in the^" 
memory-situation. If there is any mystery in this, I 
cannot see that it is in any way lessened by the sup- 
position of a de facto numerical identity of image and 
sensum which is plainly contrary to all the appearances. 



262 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

|\ I may now sum up what I _, bLaye to say about the 

jf' naively realistic theory of memory. (i) That the 
memory-image and the objective constituent of the 
original perceptual situation are numerically identical 
is a claim made, not by the memory-situation, but for 
it by certain philosophers. Hence this proposition has 
not the same strong antecedent claim on our belief 
which Naive Realism about perception undoubtedly 
does have. (ii) The motive for a naively realistic 
theory of memory is undoubtedly the belief that, unless 
we are in direct cognitive contact with past events in 
memory, it is impossible to explain how we come to 
have the very notion of " pastness " or how we have 
trustworthy non - inferential beliefs about particular 
past events. Now this presupposes that the objective 
constituent of a memory-situation literally is past ; and 
that we recognise its pastness in the memory-situation 
just as we recognise the redness of a sensum, which 
is in fact red, in a perceptual situation. Such a view 
cannot be maintained in face of totally delusive memory- 
situations. For in them the objective constituent 
manifests the very same characteristic which we took 
to be "pastness" in other situations. And here the 
objective constituent is not identical with a certain past 
event which we claim to be remembering, for there is 
no such event. Thus, even if the objective constituents 
'■y of some memory-situations be in fact past events, it 
--'' cannot be admitted that there is any infallible revela- 
tion of their pastness in the memory-situation. The 
objective constituent of a memory-situation does no 
doubt manifest a certain peculiar characteristic which 
we take as a sign of pastness. But the existence of 
totally delusive memory-situations, and their internal 
likeness to veridical ones, show that this manifested 
characteristic is not pastness and is not even an infallible 
sign of pastness. Thus naive realism about memory, 
J even if it be sometimes true, fails altogether to solve 
the epistemological problem which gave rise to it. 



MEMORY 263 

(iii) The a priori objections to a naively realistic theory 
of memory, based on the nature of time and change, 
are invalid. Past events exist henceforth eternally ; 
there is therefore no a priori objection to their being 
objective constituents of existent memory -situations. 
And, although the theory requires that past events 
shall be liable to a certain kind of change, this is not 
an objection. For it is a kind of change to which past 
events and even timeless entities may be subject with- 
out contradiction, (iv) It is not a conclusive objection 
to the theory that the memory-image seems to be 
present each time the same event is remembered and 
that the memory-image seems to be contemporary with 
events which the remembered event precedes. There 
are various ways round this difficulty ; and perhaps the 
simplest and most plausible is to draw a distinction 
between " presentness " (which cannot be repeated) 
and " presentedness ■' (which can), and to hold that 
the latter is a sign but not an infallible sign of the 
former, (v) The most serious difficulty is that we can 
recognise a general qualitative difference between any t , 
ifhage and any sensum, and specific differences in detail i; 
and in determinate characteristics between a memory- i 
image and the remembered sensum. This can be 
reconciled with the naively realistic theory of memory 
only on the assumption that the same event can appear 
to have different and incompatible details and determin- 
ate characteristics according to whether it is the objective 
constituent of a perceptual situation or of a memory- 
situation. Such an hypothesis is not impossible ; but 
it entails the conclusion that either in the memory- 
situation or in the perceptual situation (and possibly 
in both) an event appears to have determinate character- 
istics which are other than and incompatible with those 
which it really does have. The conclusion seems to be, 
that, if the naively realistic theory ^f memory had aiiy-i 
thing to recommend it, it would be possible to hold it \ 
provided we made odd enough supplementary assump- ' 



/ 



264 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

tions. But there are, so far as I can see, no reasons 
direct or indirect for holding the theory. 

I must now raise the question which was raised by 
the naively realistic theory of memory, and which the 
latter failed to answer. If past events be never con- 
stituents of memory-situations, or if at any rate they 
never manifest the characteristic of pastness as sensa 
manifest colours, etc., how do we come to have the 
notion of "pastness" at all? It will be remembered 
that a similar question arose over the origin of the 
notion of a "physical object". Underlying such 
questions there is a particular theory about the origin 
of our knowledge of universal characteristics which is 
explicitly stated by Mr Hume and tacitly assumed by 
nearly every one else. The theory may be roughly 
stated as follows. If a universal characteristic be 
simple and unanalysable we can form a concept of it 
only by being acquainted with some particular which 
has or seems to have this characteristic. If the char- 
acteristic be complex and analysable, we may be able 
to form a concept of it without being acquainted with 
any particular which has or seems to have it ; but we 
must have been acquainted with particulars which 
between them had or seemed to have all its simple 
constituents. E.g., red is a simple characteristic ; and it 
seems obvious that we could not have had the notion of 
redness unless we had been subjects of certain cognitive 
situations whose objective constituents were or seemed to 
be red. The really important point is that the particulars 
in question should seem to have the characteristic. For 
it certainly would not suffice that they should have 
it without seeming to have it ; whilst, so far as we can 
tell, it would suffice if they seemed to have it even 
though they really did not have it, if this be possible. 
Now the trouble is that pastness is certainly a simple 
characteristic, and tHat the peculiar characteristic which 
memory-images seem to have cannot be identified with 
pastness, for the reasons given above. At most this 



MEMORY 265 

characteristic can be taken as a sign of pastness ; but 
how can I know this unless in some cases I have found 
pastness and this other characteristic together? And 
how can I have done so if no instance of apparent 
pastness is ever presented to my acquaintance? 

If we accept Hume's principle the question seems 
insoluble. It is even more intractable than the similar 
question about the origin of the concept of "physical 
object ". For it might be argued (though not, I think, 
successfully) that the concept of "physical object" is 
complex, and is constructed by us from simpler concepts 
which are abstracted from sense-experience. But I do 
not think that anyone could maintain this view about 
pastness. One solution would be to give up Hume's 
principle ; which is what I have done over the notion 
of "physical object". I should then draw a distinction 
between "empirical" and " categofiaT " characteristics. 
I shouTd~can~"red ", "hard", etc., "empirical character- 
istics", and I should be inclined to maintain Hume's 
principle about the origin of our concepts of these. 
I should count "physical object" "pastness" "causa- v / 
tion ", etc., as " categorial characteristics ", and I should 
be inclined to deny Hurne's principle about the origin 
of our concepts of the latter. I see nothing self-evident 
or sacrosanct about Hume's principle ; it seems to work 
well for empirical characteristics, like colour, and to 
cause nothing but trouble over categorial characteristics, 
like cause or substance. The two kinds of characteristic 
are obviously extremely different, and there would be 
nothing in the least surprising in the fact (if it were 
a fact) that our concepts of the one arose in a quite 
different way from our concepts of the other. I am 
not assuming of course that categorial concepts are 
"innate", in the sense that we are born thinking of 
cause, substance, etc. So far as I can see each such 
concept arises only on the occasion of certain specific 
kinds of experience, which can be analysed and de- 
scribed with fair accuracy. There are three stages in 






w ^ 




266 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

the development of these categorial concepts. At the 
first stage they exist only in the sense that, on the 
occasion of certain kinds of experience, we act as z/we 
were recognising the presence of causation, of substance, 
etc. This stage is reached by all men and probably by 
the higher animals. A dog, in the situation described 
as "seeing a bone", treats his visual sensa as appear- 
ances of a permanent and present physical object ; and, 
in the situation called " hearing the dinner-bell," he 
acts as if he believed there to be a causal connexion 
between dinner-bells and food. At the second stage 
we make explicit judgments involving the categories 
in question; e.g., "Quinine tastes bitter and gives me 
a headache." This stage is probably reached by all 
sane men, and probably not by any animals. Then 
there is a third stage at which we do not merely act 
as if we recognised the categories, and do not merely 
make particular judgments which involve the categories, 
but contemplate the categories as such and make reflec- 
tive judgments about them. This stage is reached only 
by philosophers while philosophising. 

Let us now apply these general remarks to the par- 
ticular problem under discussion. I suggest that the 
objective constituents of memory-situations aTe~~iTOt in 
fact past and that they do not even seem to be past. 
But they do seem to have (and there is no reason to 
doubt that they actually do have) a certain peculiar 
characteristic which is not manifested by most images 
or most sensa. Let us call this "familiarity". Now 
we are so constituted that, when we are subjects of a 
cognitive situation whose objective constituent manifests 
the characteristic of familiarity, we inevitably apply 
the concept of pastness ; and, if we make an explicit 
judgment, it takes the form : " There ivas an event 
which had such and such empirical characteristics." 
Familiarity is an empirical characteristic and pastness 
is a categorial characteristic; but the former "means" 
the latter to such beings as we are; and this "mean- 



-'^ 



yL,-Y^^ 



•V^*- 



\ 



MEMORY 



267 



ing" is prim itive and unacquired, in the sense that it 
is not, like most meaning, due to the repeated mani- 
festation of the two characteristics together. This is 
the only account that I can recommend of "how we 
come to have the notion of pastness at all ". I owe 
the notion of "unacquired meaning" to Professor Stout; 
though I do not know in the least whether he would 
accept my exposition of it or the particular applications 
which I have made of the notion. 

If the reader cannot accept the above suggestion I 
have only one other to make, and I am not prepared to 
lay much stress on it. The suggestion is this. The 
specious present has a certain small temporal extension. 
Now it might be said that the earlier objective con- i 
stituents of the specious present are actually past and 
that they manifest the characteristic of pastness. On 
this view pastness is an empirical characteristic which 
is manifested by part of the total objective constituent 
of a specious present, and we form the concept of 
"pastness" by abstraction in the same way in which 
we form the concept of "redness". We then apply 
this concept beyond the contents of the specious present, 
just as we apply the concept of redness to things that 
we have never seen. We might then suppose that the 
earlier parts of the total content of the specious present 
manifest both pastness and familiarity, so that familiarity 
has acquired for us the meaning of pastness. The 
objective constituent of the memory-situation manifests 
familiarity but not pastness ; but we read pastness into 
it through the association which has been formed be- 
tween these two characteristics in the case of the contents 
of the specious present. I do not think myself that this 
suggestion will work. Apart from any other difficulties 
the following strikes me as serious. If familiarity has 
come to represent pastness to us because the two are 
manifested together in the earlier part of the content of 
the specious present, I should expect the result of the 
association to be that, finding the memory-image to 



268 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

seem familiar, we should ascribe pastness to it. For 
in the specious present, on the theory under discussion, 
what seemed familiar itself seemed past. But we do 
not in fact regard the memory-image itself as past. 
The familiarity of the image makes us think of some 
event, other than the image, as past ; and makes us say 
that this event had or had not such and such character- 
istics which are suggested to us by the image. I do 
not see that the present theory will account for this fact. 
The question : " How do we come to have the concept 
of pastness?" is one question, and I have tried to 
answer it to the best of my ability. The question : 
"What right have we to believe that we have rightly 
applied the concept of pastness in any particular case? " 
is a different one. I have already said that we have no 
\ infallible revelation on the subject ; that we can indeed 
^ test our memory-judgments by comparison and infer- 
ence, but only on the assumption of the general trust- 
worthiness of memory. I have only one thing to add. 
There are " secondary signs " of pastness ; just as there 
are "secondary signs" of distance, such as the size, 
clearness, etc., of the visual sensum. By this I mean 
simply that there are certain empirical characteristics 
which are more often found in an image which seems 
familiar than in one which does not. These become 
empirically associated with familiarity ; whilst familiarity 
is, in our view, non-empirically associated with the 
notion of pastness. Hence, by the ordinary process of 
"telescoping", these other empirical characteristics of 
images may come to stand for pastness. 

Non-Perceptual Memory. I shall end this chapter 
by considering very briefly some of the other senses in 
which the word " memory " is used. 

(i) It is a fundamental fact about living organisms 
that, when they have performed a certain set of move- 
ments several times, they tend to acquire a more or less 
permanent power of repeating these movements with 



MEMORY 269 

greater or less accuracy from time to time when suitably 
stimulated. This general capacity of living matter is 
sometimes called ''memory"; and it is in this sense 
and in it alone that heredity can plausibly be regarded 
as an extension of memory. It would be better to call w 
this general capacity " retentiveness " or " perseverance ". '^^ 

(2) We may acquire by practice the power of per- 
forming at will certain characteristic sets of bodily 
movements, such as those which are used in swimming. 
If we find that we can still swim when we get into the 
water after an interval, we should commonly say that 
we " remember how to swim " or " remember the move- 
ments of swimming". There is nothing cognitive about 
"memory", in this sense. To say that we remember 
how to swim is merely to state (a) that we can perform 
the proper movements after an interval, and (d) that we 
believe, or that the speaker who observes us believes, 
this to be due to our having performed them in the 
past. It would be better to call memory, in this sense, iL-^ 
" retentioii "of' an acquired motor-capacity". 

(3) In precisely the same way we may acquire by 
practice the power of uttering or writing at will a 
certain set of noises or marks, as a parrot or a monkey 
might do. There is no essential difference between this 
and the last case, if the noises or marks are meaningless 
to us. What has really been acquired and retained is 
a certain motor-capacity in the throat and tongue or in 
the fingers. It is true that, in this case, an external 
observer would probably say, not only that we remember 
how to make certain movements in tongue, throat, or 
fingers, but also that we remember the original words. 
But this means no more than that the movements in 
question reproduce noises or marks which in fact 
resemble those which we had to imitate in acquiring 
the motor-capacity. I will call " memory ", in this . 
sense, "retention of an acquired speech - capacity ", f^" 
using " speech " ifi a wide sense to include the utter- 
ances of a parrot or the imitative scrawlings which a 



270 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

monkey might make. Here too "memory" is not a 
form of cognition ; it is simply a kind of bodily action 
such as we perform when we find ourselves still able to 
swim after an interval. 

(4) One peculiar capacity which we may acquire by 
practice and retain is the power to call up an image 
which in fact resembles something that we have re- 
peatedly seen or heard in the past. If we can do this, 
an external observer who knew of the fact would be 
inclined to say that we are remembering the thing 
which we have seen or heard in the past which the 
image in fact resembles. But this would not be an 
accurate use of the word "memory" unless the image 

^^- seems familiar to us and leads us to make memory- 
judgments. Apart from this we have merely acquired 
and retained a peculiar kind of capacity; and "to 
remember", in this sense, is no more to perform a 
special kind of cognitive act than to swim is. The 
peculiarity of the present case is simply in the nature 
of the capacity which we have acquired. An image is 
not a series of movements, and to call up an image is 
not to move in a certain way. It is of course possible 
that the calling up of a certain kind of image is causally 
dependent on the occurrence of certain microscopic 
movements in the brain and nervous system, and that 
what we have primarily acquired is the capacity to 
initiate such microscopic movements at will. But this 
is purely hypothetical, and therefore it would be para- 
doxical and rash to count this capacity as a peculiar 
kind of motor-capacity. I will call " mjernory " injthis 
sense "retention of an acquired capacity Jfor imitative 
^magery ". "" 

(5) The four kinds of " memory " which I have so far 
mentioned do not really deserve the name. In them- 
selves they are modes of behaviour^ and not modes of 
cognition. To call them " memory " is merely to state 
our belief that the capacity for behaving in these ways 
arose through our performing similar actions in the 



MEMORY 271 

past, or through our having perceived something which 
resembled the image which we can now call up. Such 
acquired and retained modes of behaviour may be 
necessary conditions of genuine memory, but they are 
nothing more. But it is of course a fact that when I 
perform such actions as these a genuine memory- 
situation often does arise. The movements of swimming 
may seem familiar; so may the sounds which I utter, 
or the marks which I make, or the images which I call 
up. I see no reason why this should not happen even 
with parrots and monkeys. A further stage is that I 
may then make memory-judgments of various degrees 
of determinateness. I may judge that this has happened 
before, or I may definitely remember a certain occasion 
on which I have formerly swum. I see no reason to 
suppose that this stage is ever reached by animals. The 
first stage cannot properly be called " memory ", though 
it approaches nearer to it than the four cases which 
we considered before. The second stage is definitely 
memory, i.e.^ a peculiar kind of cognition in which we 
seem to be in contact with a part of our own past history 
and with events which we then experienced. I think 
that the name "memory" is often applied by external 
observers to the first four cases because they unwittingly 
assume that what is in fact a repetition of a past mode 
of behaviour and is in fact causally dependent on past 
behaviour or past perception must be accompanied by a 
feeling of familiarity and a more or less determinate 
memory -judgment about the past. A very little careful 
introspection will suffice to show that this is a mistake. 

(6) There is one other important sense of " memory " 
to be considered. In dealing with perceptual memory 
we had occasion to consider a certain sense in which w^e 
"remember propositions". But there is another sense 
in which we are said to "remember propositions", 
and it is this which I want now to discuss. We often 
say that we remember propositions about historical 
characters, such as Julius Ccesar, which we were taught 



272 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

at school. Again, I might well say that I remember 
Euclid's proposition I, 47, and Euclid's proof of it. 
Memory of propositions, in this sense, must be sharply 
distinguished from the memory of propositions which 
forms a part of perceptual memory. It must also be 
sharply distinguished from mere memory of sentences. 
We will take these two points in turn. 

(i) The propositions which I remember because I 
have once upon a time learned them may be about past 
events, but they need not be. Euclid I, 47 is about the 
timeless relations of certain abstract and timeless objects. 
Moreover, when the proposition which I remember in 
this way happens to be about a past event, I do not say 
that I remember the event because I remember the 
proposition about it. I certainly do remember that 
Ccesar crossed the Rubicon, and I certainly do not 
remember the event which is described as ''Caesar 
crossing the Rubicon ". In perceptual memory the 
propositions remembered are always about past events ; 
and, when we remember a proposition in this sense, we, 
ipso facto, remember perceptually the event which it is 
about. 

(ii) On the other hand, memory of propositions which 
we have been taught or have learnt for ourselves cannot 
be identified with a mere power to repeat the sentences 
in which these propositions were expressed when we 
learnt them, nor with such repetition accompanied by a 
feeling of familiarity in the words and by a perceptual 
memory-judgment. I remember Euclid I, 47 and his 
proof of it through having learnt it. But I certainly 
could not reproduce the words in my Euclid book ; and 
I should recognise the proposition equally well if I now 
saw it stated for the first time in any foreign tongue 
that is known to me. Again, I might accurately re- 
produce a sentence without remembering a proposition. 
This might happen if I did not understand the sentence; 
e.g., if it were in Hebrew, a tongue which I do not 
understand though I can write the letters. Or it might 



MEMORY 273 

happen even though 1 did understand the sentence 
when I learnt it, if I have now forgotten its meaning. 
Lastly, it might happen if I understood the sentence 
and could again understand it by giving enough at- 
tention to it, but I am now repeating it parrot-wise 
whilst thinking of other things. It is, therefore, im- 
possible to identify memory of propositions with memory 
of the sentences in which they were originally expressed, 
for there is not even an invariable and reciprocal con- 
nexion between the two kinds of memory. 

I am said to remember a proposition which I have 
learnt provided I have acquired the power of contem- 
plating it at will, and provided that, when I do con- 
template it, it seems familiar to me. The first part of 
this definition might conceivably be fulfilled without 
the second. If it were, I do not think that the experient 
would himself say that he remembers the proposition ; 
though an external observer would be very likely to 
say this of the experient. Now I think it likely that 
we cannot contemplate a proposition without some kind 
of concrete symbolism, though this may be to the last 
degree sketchy and vague without apparently inter- 
fering with our contemplation of the proposition. But, 
for the purpose of remembering the proposition, it is a 
matter of complete indifference what particular form 
the symbolism takes, and it is quite unnecessary for 
the present form of symbolism to resemble that which 
was used for expressing the proposition when we first 
met with it. No doubt the power to reproduce the 
original sentence at will is helpful as a means to 
enabling us to think of the proposition at will ; but it 
is not essential, and it is sometimes positively harmful. 
Sometimes we have accepted a proposition in the past 
on authority or because of a process of reasoning which 
then satisfied us. Perhaps, if we were now to inspect 
and criticise the proposition, we should no longer accept 
it ; the reasoning might not satisfy us now, and we 
might have lost our respect for the authority. But, 

S 



274 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

unfortunately, we have acquired the power of repro- 
ducing the original sentence, in which the proposition 
was expressed when we first met it, at will. When we 
exercise this power we think that we are thinking of the 
proposition, and we remember that we have accepted 
it and that we had what seemed adequate grounds for 
doing so. But really we are not contemplating the 
proposition at all ; we are just behaving like parrots or 
monkeys. Thus it comes about that intelligent grown 
men can honestly believe that they believe the most 
preposterous propositions in theology and politics, pro- 
vided that these continue to be expressed in language 
that has been familiar to them since their childhood. 

I hope that I have succeeded in this chapter at least 
in showing how ridiculous it is to attempt to reduce 
memory to "language-habits". Such an attempt does 
not even seem to account for perceptual memory ; and 
it fails to recognise the elementary distinction between 
remembering a sentence and remembering a proposition 
which one has learnt in the past. It is odd enough 
that the attempt should have been made ; but it is far 
more odd that it should have been hailed as a wonderful 
step in psychology and as the last word in "advanced 
thinking". 



CHAPTER VI 

Introspection 

Under the general heading of " Introspection" I shall 
discuss the intuitive and non-inferential knowledge 
which a mind is supposed by many people to have 
of itself and its states. Here we enter on even more 
controversial ground than before. No one doubts that 
there are perceptual situations, and that in them we 
seem to have intuitive and non-inferential knowledge 
of physical things and events. But many people deny 
that we can in any sense "perceive" our own minds or 
their states. Some hold that we can "perceive" con- 
temporary mental states of all kinds, but not our selves. 
Others hold that we can "perceive" mental states of 
one kind, viz., " presentations", but that we have only 
discursive and inferential knowledge of mental states of 
another kind, viz., "acts". Yet others hold that we 
can "remember" certain mental states, but that we 
cannot "perceive" any kind of mental state while it is 
happening. I think that the treatment of introspection 
by philosophers has been much less careful than their 
treatment of perception, and that many necessary 
distinctions have been ignored. A great part of the 
disagreement about introspection seems to me to be due 
to the ambiguities of the word which arise through the 
failure to recognise these necessary distinctions. I hope 
that in this chapter I may at least clear up some of these 
ambiguities. 

General Characteristics of Introspection. I think 
that it would generally be agreed that, if there is a 

275 



276 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

process which deserves to be called "introspection" at 
all, the following characteristics must belong to it. 
(i) It must be intuitive, like perception, and not merely 
discursive. That is, it must not consist simply of 
judgments about minds and their states ; and minds 
and their states must not be known simply as the 
subjects of such and such propositions. No doubt, if 
there is introspection, there will be introspective judg- 
ments ; and these, like perceptual judgments will be 
about their subjects. But, if there is introspection, 
our minds or certain states of them must be or seem 
to be objective constituents of introspective situations, 
just as physical events or things are or seem to be 
objective constituents of perceptual situations. These 
objective constituents of introspective situations must 
manifest certain apparent characteristics, as the objective 
constituents of perceptual situations manifest redness, 
hardness, etc. And introspective judgments must state 
explicitly the characteristics which the objective con- 
stituents of introspective situations manifest. (2) Intro- 
spective judgments must not be reached by inference. 
Even if they pass beyond the objective constituent of 
the introspective situation and its manifested character- 
istics, and are in some sense based on the latter, they 
must not be inferred from the latter. (3) If there are 
introspective situations, their objects are the mind of 
the subject of the situation or some mental event which 
is a state of that mind. It is commonly held that no 
one could have this kind of intuitive and non-inferential 
knowledge of any mind but himself or of any mental 
events but his own mental states. Thus the objects of 
introspection are supposed to be essentially private to 
the introspecting mind. 

The Objects of Introspection. We are alleged by 
certain people to have introspective knowledge of 
ourselves and of some of our mental states. And our 
mental states themselves are divided into two classes. 



•^ ^^ INTROSPECTION 277 

viz., acts and presentations. Some people hold that 
we have introspective knowledge of both ; others that 
we have such knowledge only of the latter. I will first 
consider our alleged introspective knowledge of our- 
selves, as contrasted with our alleged introspective 
knowledge of our states; and I will then consider the 
two different kinds of mental states, and our alleged 
introspective knowledge or lack of knowledge of them. 

Introspective Knowledge of the Self. The distinction 
between a self and particular states of it, such as a 
certain feeling of toothache or a certain act of thinking, 
is obviously analogous to the distinction between a 
physical object, such as a chair, and a physical event, 
such as a flash of lightning or a certain short phase in 
the total history of the chair. Just as a short slice of 
the history of a physical object may consist of a number 
of different but temporally overlapping physical events, 
so a short slice of the history of a mind may consist of a 
number of different but temporally overlapping mental 
events. The characteristic unity of the successive 
slices of the history of a mind is no doubt different from 
the characteristic unity of the successive slices of the 
history of a physical object. And the characteristic 
unity of the temporally overlapping events which 
together make up a slice of the history of a mind is no 
doubt different from the characteristic unity of the 
temporally overlapping events which together make up 
a slice of the history of a physical object. But, apart 
from these characteristic differences, there is a general 
resemblance which enables us to regard each as a per- 
sistent substance which passes through successive total 
phases, each of which in turn consists of distinguishable 
but temporally overlapping events. So far then we may 
compare the distinction between a state of mind and the 
mind which owns it with the distinction between a 
physical object and a certain part of a certain slice of its 
history. And we may compare our alleged intro- 
spective knowledge of ourselves and certain of our 



278 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

states with our alleged perceptual knowledge of a 
physical object and of certain events in its history. 

But we must now mention a difference between the 
two cases, which complicates the present problem. It 
is very commonly believed that the characteristic unity 
of the various events in one slice of the history of a self, 
and the characteristic unity of the successive slices of 
the total history of a self, depend on the presence of a 
' peculiar constituent in every self. This peculiar con- 
■ stituent is called the '* Pure Ego". I do not think that 
anyone seriously holds a similar view about the charac- 
teristic unity of a physical object. Now a result of the 
wide prevalence of the Pure Ego Theory is this. When 
I people talk of the "Self" they sometimes mean the 
supposed Pure Ego, and not the states which it is sup- 
I posed to own. Sometimes they mean the complex whole 
composed, as they believe, of all the states of the self 
in their interrelations and of the Pure Ego in its rela- 
tions to these states. And sometimes they simply mean 
the whole composed of the states in their interrelations, 
leaving the question of a Pure Ego perfectly open or 
denying its existence. If, then, people mean three 
different things by the "Self", it is evident that the 
question whether we have introspective knowledge of 
our selves is ambiguous ; we might have to answer 
"Yes" to one form of it, " No" to another, and " It is 
uncertain " to a third. Let us first consider the self as 
Pure Ego. 

I do not mean to discuss in this chapter whether the 
Pure Ego theory of the self is true. Here I merely 
wish to ask the hypothetical question : "If there were 
: a Pure Ego would there be any objection to the sup- 
! position that we can have introspective knowledge of 
it?" Now the Pure Ego might, I take it, be conceived 
in at least two different ways, (i) We might suppose 
that the Pure Ego is a single long strand of history 
of which every slice is exactly like every other slice in 
all its qualities. On this view the Pure Ego could not 



INTROSPECTION 279 

possibly be the objective constituent of any introspective 
situation, since the duration of the Pure Ego stretches 
from the cradle to the grave, whilst that of any intro- 
spective situation is only a few seconds or at most 
minutes. This, however, would not put the Pure Ego 
in any less favourable position than the physical object. 
Various slices of the history of a Pure Ego might be 
literally objective constituents of introspective situations, 
just as various slices of the history of a physical object 
might be literally objective constituents of perceptual 
situations. We should have to admit that the intro- 
spective judgment: "There is a single Pure Ego 
which lasts without qualitative change throughout my 
life and owns all my successive states " goes beyond 
what is manifested in any introspective situation ; but 
we have had to make a similar admission about the 
perceptual judgment: "There is a penny which is 
hard and cold as well as brown, and which existed 
before and will exist after the present perceptual situa- 
tion." It would not follow that our beliefs about the 
Pure Ego must be reached by inference. It might be 
an essential feature of every introspective situation that 
its objective constituent is believed to be a slice of a 
longer strand which is qualitatively uniform. 

(2) A second possible view is that the Pure Ego is a 
timeless particular and not a long uniform strand of 
history. On that hypothesis there is no a priori reason 
why it should not be literally an objective constituent 
of each one of a whole series of introspective situations. 

But, even if we accept a Pure Ego and admit that it 
might conceivably be an objective constituent of an 
introspective situation, I think that our actual experi- 
ence would force us to admit the following two proposi- 
tions, (i) It is never the (rf?;;///^?/^ objective constituent 
of any introspective situation. If it be there at all it is 
always accompanied by some particular mental event 
which it owns. (2) It does not manifest empirical 
qualities in the introspective situation in the way in 



28o MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

which the particular mental event does so. Suppose, 
^.^., that the total objective constituent of a certain 
introspective situation is a feeling of toothache, to- 
gether with the Pure Ego (or a slice of the history of 
the Pure Ego) which owns this feeling. Then it must 
be admitted that the toothache manifests in the situation 
{i.e., "seems to have") certain empirical qualities, such 
as throbbingness, stabbingness, and so on. And it 
must be admitted that the Pure Ego, or the slice of its 
history, does not in this sense manifest any empirical 
qualities. One can think of at least two possible ex- 
planations of this, (i) Perhaps the Pure Ego fails to 
manifest any empirical qualities because it has none 
to manifest. It may simply have categorial char- 
acteristics, such as "being a substance", "being 
a particular", "being timeless", etc.; and empirical 
relational properties, such as " owning this toothache", 
"owning that thought", and so on. (ii) Perhaps the 
Pure Ego has empirical qualities, but is incapable of 
manifesting them in introspective situations to the 
mind of which it is a constituent. There are analogies 
to this in the case of sense-perception. If we take a 
naively realistic view of sense-perception, a slice of the 
history of the top of a penny is an objective constituent 
of my visual situation when I look at the top of this 
penny. And it has the empirical quality of coldness. 
But it certainly does not manifest this quality in the 
visual situation as it manifests the empirical quality of 
brownness. Moreover, we should admit that it may 
have empirical qualities, e.g., magnetic ones, which it 
fails to manifest in this way in any perceptual situation 
of which we are capable of being subject. We only 
extend this a little further when we suggest that the 
Pure Ego may be incapable of manifesting any of its 
empirical qualities in any introspective situation. It is 
no doubt unfortunate that, if it exists at all, it should 
be so extremely retiring; but its modesty is certainly 
not .a proof that it does not exist or that it cannot be 



INTROSPECTION 281 

part of the total objective constituent of an introspective 
situation. 

In this connexion I may just mention Mr Hume's 
famous statement that, vv^henever he tried to introspect 
his Self, he always "stumbled upon" some particular 
mental event instead. I take it that Mr Hume did here 
mean by his ''Self" a supposed Pure Ego v^^hich was 
alleged to own all his mental states. And I think that 
the conclusion which has generally been drawn from 
Mr Hume's statement is either that the Pure Ego is a 
pure myth ; or at any rate that, if it exists, our know- 
ledge of it is discursive and inferential. I think that 
we may accept Mr Hume's statement if we understand 
it to mean (i) that the Pure Ego is never the whole of 
the objective constituent of any introspective situation, 
even if the whole Pure Ego be part of the objective con- 
stituent of every introspective situation ; and (ii) that, 
even if the whole Pure Ego be part of the objective 
constituent of every introspective situation, it never 
manifests any of its empirical qualities, as the other part 
of the total objective constituent does. Now I think 
that this does entail the conclusion that, if we know the 
Pure Ego at all, we know it discursively {i.e., simply 
as the subject of certain propositions) and not intuitively. 
But it does not follow that our knowledge of it is in- 
ferential ; it does not follow that there is no Pure 
Ego ; and it does not follow that the Pure Ego has no 
empirical qualities. 

If we are to hold that we have non-intuitive but non- 
inferential knowledge of the Pure Ego, I think we shall 
have to suppose that it arises somewhat as follows. 
We shall have to suppose that each particular mental 
event which we become acquainted with in an intro- 
spective situation manifests in that situation the re- 
lational property of "being owned by something"; 
that, on comparison and reflexion, we can see that this 
"something" is the same for all the mental events 
which we can introspect, whether they be successive or 



282 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

simultaneous, and that it is not itself a mental event or 
a group of interrelated mental events. The Pure Ego 
would then be known discursively, but not of necessity 
inferentially, as the common owner of such and such 
particular contemporary and successive mental events. 
Now, since the Pure Ego can be known only in this 
way even if it be a constituent of all introspective 
situations, there seems no very good reason for holding 
that it is in fact part of the objective constituent of 
any such situation. For, on the one hand, since it 
manifests no empirical qualities in any introspective 
situation, there seems to be no direct reason for regard- 
ing it as part of the objective constituent. And, on the 
other hand, if we can have such non-inferential know- 
ledge about it in spite of its manifesting no empirical 
qualities in introspective situations, there seems no 
reason why we should not be able to have the same 
kind of knowledge about it even though it were not 
part of the objective constituent of any such situation. 
Thus the conclusion seems to be that, although the 
Y Pure Ego might be part of the objective constituent of 

Q introspective situations, there is no good reason to 
•^ suppose that it in fact w, even if we admit its existence 
i and admit that we have non-inferential knowledge of it. 
I have now considered our alleged introspective 
knowledge of the Self, in the sense of the Pure Ego. 
Let us next consider our alleged introspective know- 
ledge of the Self, in the sense of the whole complex of 
contemporary and successive interrelated mental events 
which together constitute our mental history. If we 
reject the Pure Ego theory this complex will be the 
Total Self. If we accept the Pure Ego theory the 
Total Self will be this complex together with the Pure 
Ego in its relation of ownership to all the events in 
the complex. Let us call the complex of interrelated 
I mental events the " Empirical Self". No one seriously 

-», doubts the existence of Empirical Selves, whether he 
accepts or rejects the Pure Ego theory. If a man 



INTROSPECTION 28^, 



J 



rejects the Pure Ego theory, the Total Self and the 
Empirical Self are, on his view, identical. If he accepts 
the Pure Ego theory, the Empirical Self must still be 
admitted to exist ; but the Total Self will not be identical 
with it. The Total Self will then be the larger complex 
which consists of the Empirical Self and of the Pure 
Ego standing in the relation of ownership to the mental 
events which are constituents of the Empirical Self. 
The present question is whether, and in what sense, we 
can have introspective knowledge of the Empirical or 
the Total Self. 

The Empirical Self is, for the present purpose, pre- 
cisely analogous to a physical thing ; i.e., each is along 
strand of history whose successive slices have a certain 
continuity with each other and are themselves composed 
of various temporally overlapping events united in a 
characteristic way. Now I have argued that physical 
things cannot, as such, be constituents of perceptual 
situations, quite apart from all questions of delusive 
perception. For the thing which we are said to per- 
ceive is admitted to last longer than the perceptual 
situation ; it is admitted that only a certain part of a 
certain slice of its history could literally be a constituent 
of any one perceptual situation ; and it is admitted that 
even this part of this slice does not manifest in the 
perceptual situation all the empirical qualities which it 
in fact has. Precisely similar considerations apply to 
the Empirical Self and to our alleged knowledge of it 
by introspection. The Empirical Self is something 
which lasts from birth till death at least ; its successive 
slices differ from each other qualitatively ; and each 
slice is differentiated into a number of distinct but 
temporally overlapping mental events. A particular 
introspective situation probably lasts for a minute or 
so ; and it cannot contain as objective constituent more 
than a certain short slice of the Empirical Self. More- 
over, it is doubtful whether it would ever contain the 
whole of such a slice ; it might, e.g., contain a twinge 



284 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

of toothache and a little more besides, but miss out the 
rest of my contemporary mental states. Lastly, there 
is no reason to suppose that a mental event which is an 
objective constituent of an introspective situation must, 
ipso facto ^ manifest all the empirical properties which 
it in fact possesses. When I introspect my present 
feeling of toothache it may manifest the quality of 
throbbingness ; but, even if it be literally an objective 
constituent of my present introspective situation, there 
is no reason why it should not have dozens of other 
characteristics which it does not manifest in this 
situation. 

It is necessary to insist on this last point because of 
the wide prevalence o^a curious superstition. This i^ 
the belief that, if there be introspection at all, it must 
give exhaustive and infallible information. It seems 
to be thought that, because the objects of my intro- 
spection are my self and my states, therefore they can 
have no qualities which they do not reveal to intro- 
spection by me. And it seems to be thought that, for 
the same reason, my states cannot appear to me to have 
qualities which are other than and inconsistent with 
those which they do have. Now the first part of this 
is simply superstition, and there is nothing more to be 
said about it. I will not dismiss the second part at 
present so cavalierly ; it is always difficult to under- 
stand how anything can seem to have characteristics 
which are other than and inconsistent with those which 
it really does have ; and it may be that there are special 
difficulties on the assumption that mental events are 
literally objective constituents of introspective situations. 
But these difficulties are certainly not due to the fact 
that the states which / introspect are i)iy states ; if any- 
thing can seem to have characteristics which are incon- 
sistent with those which it does have, in spite of its 
being intuitively known, there is no special reason why 
m,y states should not seem to me to have such char- 
acteristics. It is very easy to deny the existence of 



INTROSPECTION 



285 



introspection, if you start out with the principle that 
introspection must give exhaustive and infallible know- 
ledge of its objects ; and it is therefore important to 
say firmly that there is no reason to accept the principle. 
To return, after this digression, to the Empirical Self. 
The upshot of the discussion is this. On the most 
favourable view possible we cannot hold that the 
Empirical Self as such is the objective constituent of 
any introspective situation. The most we could say is 
that the objective constituents of all my introspective 
situations are mental events which are in fact parts of 
slices of the history of my Empirical Self, and that the 
characteristics which they manifest in these introspective 
situations are some of the characteristics which they do 
in fact possess. It does not of course follow from this 
that our knowledge of the Empirical Self must be dis- 
cursive and inferential ; any more than it follows from 
the similar considerations which we brought forward in 
the case of perception that our knowledge of physical 
things must be discursive and inferential. It might be 
an essential factor in every introspective situation that 
its objective constituent is believed to be a fragment of 
a short slice of a long strand of history whose structure 
is such that we call it an " Empirical Self". I am in- 
clined to think that this is in fact the case. And, for 
anything that we have seen at present, this belief, which 
always forms part of the total introspective situation, 
might always be true. In that case I should say that 
our introspective knowledge of the Empirical Self was 
intuitive and non-inferential in precisely the same sense 
in which our perceptual knowledge of a chair or a penny 
is so. It will be remembered that, in the analogous 
case of perception, we had to conclude that our in- 
stinctive belief that the objective constituent of the 
perceptual situation is literally a spatio-temporal part 
of the physical object which we are said to be perceiving 
is certainly sometimes false. This was because of totally 
delusive perceptual situations, such as the drunkard's 



\ 



286 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

, seeing pink rats. Now, so far as I know, there are no 
introspective situations which we have reason to believe 
to be totally delusive in this sense. Let us consider 
what would be the introspective analogon of a totally 
delusive perceptual situation. Suppose I were subject 
of an introspective situation whose objective constituent 
manifested certain characteristics ; and suppose that I 
had a non-inferential belief that this event which mani- 
fests these characteristics is a state of my mind, in the 
sense that it is a fragment of that total strand of history 
which is my Empirical Self. This introspective situation 
would be totally delusive, in the sense in which the 
drunkard's perception of pink rats is so, if and only if 
there were nothing which corresponds in the least to 
my notion of my Empirical Self or to my belief that 
this event is part of the history of my Empirical Self. 
We call the drunkard's perceptual situation "totally 
delusive " because we believe that there are no such 
things in the world as pink rats ; or because we believe 
that, even if there be pink rats somewhere in the universe, 
the objective constituent of the drunkard's perceptual 
situation does not stand in any specially intimate relation 
to a certain pink rat, which the drunkard asserts to be 
occupying a certain position on his bed at the moment. 
X Now I say that there are no introspective situations 
T which are known to be delusive, in this sense. We 
have no good reason to doubt that there are such 
strands of history as we call "Empirical Selves"; we 
have no good reason to doubt that all the introspective 
situations of whose existence we know are in fact events 
in the history of some Empirical Self; and we have no 
good reason to doubt that the objective constituent of 
every introspective situation does stand in a certain 
peculiarly intimate relation to that particular Empirical 
Self which owns this introspective situation. There is 
therefore no ground for thinking that the belief which 
forms an essential factor in all introspective situations 
is ever false in its main outlines. 



INTROSPECTION 287 

I must, however, warn the reader at this point against 
three misunderstandings, (i) I am not saying that there 
is no reason to doubt that every mental event stands in 
this peculiary intimate relation to a certain Empirical 
Self; I am saying this only of every mental event which 
is an object of introspection. There may be excellent 
reasons for accepting the reality of mental events which 
we cannot introspect and which are not connected in 
this way with any Empirical Self, (ii) I am talking 
of the Empirical Self and not of the Pure Ego. I do 
not think that it is any part of the claim made by the 
introspective situation that its objective constituent is 
owned by a Pure Ego. And, if it were, I might think 
that there was good reason for doubting the claim. As 
I have said, I think that, even if there be a Pure Ego 
and it be in fact a constituent of every introspective 
situation, it is not revealed to us in any introspective 
situation, but is known only by a process of comparison 
and reflection, (iii) I am not saying that there is no 
good reason to doubt the claim made by the introspective 
situation in the precise form in which it is made. I 
think that the introspective situation does claim that 
its objective constituent is literally a part of a slice of 
the history of a certain Empirical Self ; and that the 
characteristics which it manifests in the situation do 
really belong to it, though they need not be all that 
belong to it. It may very well be that the claim in 
this extreme form cannot be upheld in view of all the 
facts. It may be that we shall find it impossible to 
hold that the objective constituents of introspective 
situations are literally parts of the Empirical Self; or 
that we can hold this only on the hypothesis that they 
can seem to have characteristics which are other than 
and inconsistent with those which they really do have. 
Nevertheless, the claim that the objective constituents 
of introspective situations stand in a certain peculiarly 
intimate relation to the Empirical Self might be upheld ; 
as we have upheld the corresponding claim of the per- 



\^ 



J 



288 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

ceptual situation, in spite of our inability to accept it 
in the precise form in which it is made. We must there- 
fore consider next our alleged introspective knowledge 
of particular mental events. 

Introspective Knowledge of Mental Events. We must 
begin by noticing that, under the head of " menta l 
events ", a number of existents of very different kinds 
are included. Various people between them claim to 
have introspective knowledge of events of all these 
different kinds. Consequently we have some reason 
to suppose that, under the head of " introspection " a 
number of extremely different kinds of cognition may 
be included. 

(i) Many people regard the objective constituents of 
visual, tactual, and auditory perceptual situations as 
states of the percipient's mind. Now there are situations 
in which we specially attend to them and try to describe 
the characteristics which they seem to have, as distinct 
from describing the characteristics which the perceived 
physical object is believed to have. Such people would 
describe such situations as " introspective ". 

(2) Some people would hesitate to call the objective 
constituents of such perceptual situations as these 
"mental events", and would hesitate to call the act 
of attending to them and their apparent characteristics 
"introspection". But they would count bodily feelings, 
like headache and toothache, as mental states. They 
would hold that, when we try to describe accurately 
to a dentist "what our toothache feels like", we are 
introspecting it. Now, for our purpose, these two cases 
are so much alike that they may be treated together, 
(i) It might reasonably be held that, when we have a 
certain bodily feeling, we are perceiving a certain pro- 
cess in our bodies in precisely the same sense in which 
we perceive a process in a certain external object when 
we sense a noise or a coloured patch. No doubt some 
bodily feelings are accompanied by such vague per- 
ceptual judgments about our own bodies that the 



INTROSPECTION 289 

situation approximates to one of pure feeling. But 
it is also true that there are visual and auditory situa- 
tions which approximate to pure sensation, (ii) The_' 
privacy of bodily feelings is no ground for drawing a 
fundamental distinction between them and the objective 
'constituents of visual or auditory situations. As we 
have seen, the objective constituents of several visual 
situations with the same epistemological object always 
seem on careful inspection to differ in their determinate 
characteristics, and are probably always numerically 
different. At most we can say that there is a correla- 
tion of their apparent characteristics with each other 
and with the positions of the observers. The additional 
privacy of bodily feelings consists only in the fact that 
there are not groups of correlated bodily feelings, in 
the sense in which there are groups of correlated visual 
or auditory sensa. (iii) When we attend to a tooth- 
ache it manifests, not only such "sensible" qualities 
as " throbbingness " etc. (which may be compared 
to redness or " squeakiness "), but also the peculiar 
characteristic of painfulness. Most noises or coloured 
patches which we sense do not manifest painfulness 
or pleasantness when we attend to them. But, after 
all, some bodily feelings are practically neutral ; and 
some very squeaky noises or very dazzling flashes are 
distinctly painful. So this introduces no essential dis- 
tinction, (iv) There is one important feature which 
is common to the two cases which we have so far 
considered and is absent in those which we have to 
consider next. I express this by saying that a tooth- 
ache, a noise, a flash, and a coloured patch all seem 
to be homogeneous events. No doubt they all have or 
seem to have temporal parts, and some of them have 
or seem to have spatial parts. No doubt the different 
parts may manifest different determinate qualities; e.g.^ 
one bit of a coloured patch may seem red and another 
may seem blue, or the earlier part of a twinge of tooth- 
ache may seem "dull" and the later part "throbbing", 

T 



290 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 



and so on. But all the parts which we can distinguish 
seem to be of the same kind as each other and as the 
whole which they compose. Moreover, the parts of 
the whole are united to form the whole by the unique 
relation of spatial, temporal, or spatio-temporal ad- 
junction. This is what I mean by calling toothaches, 
noises, coloured patches, flashes, etc., "homogeneous 
events ". Now there are other events, which some 
people say that we can introspect, that are certainly 
not homogeneous in this sense. E.g., a perceptual 
situation {i.e., the kind of situation which we denote by 
such a phrase as "So-and-so seeing such-and-such") 
is not a homogeneous event in the sense defined. For 
it is a complex in which we can distinguish an objective 
constituent, a subjective constituent, and a characteristic 
relation between them which is not that of adjunction. 
We may call it a "heterogeneous event". Now some 
people hold that perceptual sTFuations, and other mental 
situations which are heterogeneous in the sense defined, 
can be introspected. 

For the reasons which I have just given it seems to 
me likely that there is no essential difiference between 
what is called "introspecting" a bodily feeling and 
what some people would refuse to call "introspecting" 
the objective constituent of a visual, tactual, or auditory 
perceptual situation. And it seems to me likely that 
there is a difference between this and what is called 
"introspecting" a heterogeneous mental event, such 
as a perceptual situation or a memory-situation. Now 
the word "introspection" is generally taken to imply 
that its object is a state of the introspector's mind. I 
certainly do not want to use language which would 
suggest that noises, flashes, toothaches, etc., are states 
of the mind which senses or feels them ; for this is a 
matter of controversy, and my own view is that they 
are probably not states of mind. Nevertheless there 
are situations in which we specially attend to such 
events and to their apparent characteristics, and it is 



A INTROSPECTION 291 

^ necessary to have some neutral name for such situations. 

I propose to call such situations " inspective ", and not '-'^^-^A*^ 
"introspective". Anyone who holdstharToothaches, 
noises, etc., are states of the mind which feels or senses 
them will simply regard inspection as a species of 
introspection. Anyone who rejects this view will deny 
that inspection is a species of introspection. But both 
parties can agree to use the name " inspection " for the 
situations which I have been describing, without com- 
mitting themselves to any special view on this further 
question. 

(3) The third case then that we have to distinguish 
is our alleged introspective knowledge of heterogeneous 
mental events such as perceptual and memory-situations. 
It is necessary to introduce a further distinction under 
this head, which has often been overlooked. All the 
situations which we are at present considering have 
internal complexity ; there is an objective constituent, 
a subjective constituent ; and a characteristic relation 
between the two. But, in addition to this internal 
complexity, some, if not all, of these situations refer 
to an epistemological object which is not a constituent 
of the situation. It is one thing to recognise that a 
certain perceptual situation, e.o-.^ contains a mass of 
bodily feeling and a brown elliptical patch related in a 
certain specific way ; and it is another thing to recognise 
that it refers to a certain epistemological object, £■.£-., 
"this penny". Now some people would say that, if 
we are asked: " What are you seeing; what are you 
remembering ; what are you desiring? " and we answer : 
" I am seeing a penny ; I am remembering the tie which 
my friend wore yesterday ; and I am wanting my tea ", 
we are introspecting in order to answer these questions. 
Plainly we must distinguish between analysing a situa- 
tion, describing its various constituents, and noting the 
relations which subsist between them in the situation, 
on the one hand ; and recognising, on the other hand, 
that it refers to such and such an epistemological object 



292 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 



\ 



which is not a constituent of it. If both these processes 
are to be called "introspection", they ought to be 
distinguished by suitable adjectives. We might call 
the first "psychological introspection " and the second 
" epistemological introspection". I want now to see 
whether " epistemological introspection" deserves the 
name of " introspection " at all. 

I think that there are two cases to be considered, 
(i) The situation may contain as an essential constituent 
a judgment or some other psychological attitude, such 
as supposition, whose "objective " (to use Meinong's ex- 
pression) is a certain proposition or set of propositions. 
The epistemological object of the situation is deter- 
mined by these propositions. On this alternative the 
recognition that the situation has such and such an 
epistemological object is not an additional cognitive 
process which may or may not be superinduced on the 
original situation ; it is an essential part of the original 
situation itself. In judging or supposing certain pro- 
positions I, ipso facto, know what are the propositions 
which I am judging or supposing ; and therefore in 
being the subject of such a situation I, ipso facto, know 
what is its epistemological object. The most that we 
can do is to put this judgment or supposition explicitly 
into words ; and I do not see any reason to call this 
process " introspection ". Now it is important to notice 
that this process is not infallible, and that in fact it is 
liable to a certain systematic error which might be 
called "The Epistemologist's Fallacy". Although we 
cannot help knowing what we are judging, we may find 
it very difficult to say accurately either to ourselves or 
others what we are judging ; because the subtlety of 
language is not equal to the subtlety of fact. The 
systematic error, which I call the Epistemologist's 
Fallacy, is to substitute a more determinate judgment 
or supposition for the vaguer and less determinate 
judgment or supposition which really formed part of the 
original situation. In addition to the process which 



INTROSPECTION 293 

I have been describing we may (a) recognise what kind 
of attitude we are taking towards the propositions in 
question ; e.£:, we may recognise that it is judgment 
or that it is supposition, or that it is doubt, and so on. 
And {d) we may recognise the precise relation which 
this factor in the situation bears to the other factors in 
it, i.e., to the objective constituent, to the subjective 
constituent, and so on. These two processes are of 
course particular cases of psychological introspection. 
It seems then that, in this case, the so-called process 
of " epistemological introspection " splits into two parts. 
One is not introspection at all, but is merely the state- 
ment in words of certain propositions which are judged 
or supposed in the original situation. The other is a 
particular instance of psychological introspection, viz., 
the recognition of the particular attitude which we take 
towards these propositions and of the relation of this 
attitude to the other factors in the situation. 

(ii) The second case is this. There are certain 
situations, notably perceptual ones, which have epis- 
temological objects, but probably do not contain as 
constituents judgments or other attitudes towards pro- 
positions. I have described them as best I could by 
saying that we adjust our bodies as if we had made 
certain judgments about what is coming next, and 
are surprised and disappointed if something different 
happens. Instead of containing judgments, the situa- 
tions contain the feelings due to these bodily adjust- 
ments related in a characteristic way to the other 
constituents of the situation. In such cases, when we 
try to state what is the epistemological object of the 
situation, we are really trying to state explicitly those 
propositions in accordance with which we have acted and 
adjusted ourselves. Here we are quite definitely going 
beyond anything that was contained in the original 
situation ; otherwise this case is identical with the last 
which we considered. 

The upshot of the matter is that "epistemological 



294 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

introspection " is not introspection at all, and need not 
be further considered. I cannot, however, resist the 
temptation to remark that the extraordinary confusions 
which I seem to find in Mr Russell's argument about 
Desire in the first chapter of his Analysis of Mind ^.te 
due to a failure to distinguish between psychological 
and epistemological introspection coupled with the 
superstition that, if there were introspective knowledge 
at all, it would have to be infallible. Mr Russell is 
anxious to prove that we do not know our own mental 
states by introspection. Having discussed this question 
about other kinds of mental state, he here raises it about 
Desire. And he thinks it relevant to his purpose to 
point out (what he need scarcely have gone to the 
Behaviourists and the Psycho-Analysts to learn) that 
we are often mistaken in our beliefs about what would 
in fact satisfy us. This seems to me to be triply 
irrelevant to his contention that we do not know the 
mental situation called "Desire" by introspection, 
(i) It assumes that introspective knowledge, if it existed 
at all, must be infallible. No reason is given for this 
assumption, (ii) It would prove only that we do not 
know "what we desire " {i.e., the epistemological object 
of the conative situation) by epistemological introspection. 
It would not have the faintest tendency to show that 
we do not know the mental situation of desiring, and 
do not recognise its constituents and its characteristic 
internal structure, hy psychological miros^ectxon. (iii) But 
the facts adduced by Mr Russell are irrelevant even to 
epistemological introspection, and even on the assump- 
tion that introspection must be infallible if it exists 
at all. For he has failed to distinguish between the 
epistemological object and the ontological object of a 
conative situation. The ontological object of such a 
situation is that state of affairs which would in fact 
satisfy us ; its epistemological object is that state of 
affairs which we believe, while the situation is occurring, 
would satisfy us. Who in the world ever supposed 



INTROSPECTION 295 

that introspection could give us infallible information 
about the former, even if he supposed that it c(nild do 
so about the latter? Mr Russell's argument is thus 
absolutely irrelevant to his conclusion, even if his con- 
clusion be true ; and he has failed to see this because 
he has for the moment overlooked the distinctions which 
I have been drawing. An exact parallel to his argument 
about desire would be the following imaginary argu- 
ment about perception : "It is evident that we do not 
know of the existence and the constituents and the 
structure of perceptual situations by introspection ; for 
it is notorious that we may think we are perceiving an 
Archdeacon when we are really perceiving a scarecrow." 
The utter irrelevance of this argument is obvious ; but 
it is irrelevant in precisely the same way and for pre- 
cisely the same reasons as Mr Russell's argument to 
prove that we have no introspective knowledge of 
desire. 

The outcome of this sub-section is that we have to 
recognise two and only two apparently distinct kinds 
of knowledge which would commonly be counted as 
introspection of mental events. One is the inspection 
of sensa, images, bodily feelings, and other homo- 
geneous events. The other is the introspection of 
heterogeneous mental situations. The so-called " epis- 
temological introspection ", which turns up in connexion 
with situations that have epistemological objects, resolves 
itself into something which is not introspection, and 
into something else which is a particular instance of 
psychological introspection. I propose now to consider 
inspection and psychological introspection in turn. 

Inspection. We must begin by distinguishing a 
number of different but connected relations in which 
such an event as a noise, or a patch that appears 
coloured, may stand to a percipient. Let us suppose 
that I am looking attentively at a penny. There is a 
certain objective constituent which, on inspection, will 
seem to have a certain determinate ellipticity and a 



296 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

certain non-uniform distribution of various shades of 
brown. This patch will itself be a spatial part of a 
bigger visual field. Now (i) this visual field as a whole 
stands in a certain peculiar relation to me which I 
express by saying that it "is being sensed by me". 
If another person be looking at the penny at the same 
time, this visual field will not stand in this relation to 
him ; though there will be another visual field which 
does stand in this relation to him and does not stand in 
it to me. Moreover, if I turn my back, this visual field 
(even if it continues to exist) will cease to stand in this 
relation to me. These statements will, I hope, indicate 
what I mean by saying that a visual field is sensed, 
(ii) It seems to me that when a field is sensed there is 
always one^ and there may well be many, "sets of 
adjoined parts" such that each member of this set is 
also sensed by me. By a "set of adjoined parts" I 
mean a set of spatially or temporally or spatio-tem- 
porally extended parts which fit together without over- 
lapping to make up an extended whole. It is evident 
that the same extended whole has an enormous number 
of different sets of adjoined parts ; for this merely means 
that it can be exhaustively divided up in an enormous 
number of different ways. (I owe the conception of a 
set of adjoined parts to Dr M'Taggart.) (iii) On the 
other hand, it seems to me that when a whole is sensed 
it may quite well have parts which are not sensed 
because they are too small or of too short duration. 
Thus it is possible that a visual field which is sensed 
may have many sets of adjoined parts such that no 
member of any of these sets is sensed. And of course 
there may be sets of adjoined parts of a sensed whole 
such that some members of any such set are sensed 
and other members of that set are not sensed, (iv) In 
our example the visual appearance of the penny and 
the remainder of the visual field form a set of adjoined 
parts of the visual field. And both members of this set 
are sensed, (v) Now, although the visual appearance 



INTROSPECTION 297 

of the penny and the rest of the visual field agree in the 
fact that they are both sensed by me, they differ in 
another respect. I express this difference by saying 
that the former is and the latter is not "selected by 
me". Whatever part of a field is selected by me ', 
must also be sensed by me ; but there may be parts of , 
the field which are sensed by me without being selected 
by me. (vi) At this point we come to a parting of the ' 
ways. A part of the field which is selected by me may r ^ \ 

{a) be used for perceiving a certain physical object and ' ^S*^/ 
for learning about its physical characteristics, or [b) it / / 

may become an object of inspection by me with a view j 
to learning accurately its own apparent characteristics. 
We can inspect only what we have selected, and we can 
perceive only with what we have selected. And we can 
select only those parts of a sensed field which we sense. 
■ But we can either ms^^ct or perceive with -a part of a > . 
field which_we sense ajid select; and I am inclined to '^^^ 
think that we must do one or the other. I think that it 
is~"vital for the present purpose to distinguish these 
relations of being sensed, being selected, being in- 
spected, and being used for perceiving ; and to get 
clear about their mutual connexions. 

Inspective situations undoubtedly do arise, though 
they are of course far less common than perceptual and 
sensational situations. In ordinary life the most im- 
portant inspective situations are those in which we 
select and inspect a certain bodily feeling in order to 
describe its apparent characteristics as accurately as we 
can to our doctor or our dentist. Inspective situations 
which are not concerned with bodily feelings are almost 
confined to philosophers, psychologists, and those 
physiologists who study the psycho -physiology of 
sense-perception. And even these specialists are 
subjects of such situations only at certain rare intervals 
when inspection becomes necessary for their investiga- 
tions. Anyone who has ever put himself in an in- 
spective situation and tried to discover the apparent 



I 



298 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

qualities of his visual or auditory sensa, as distinct from 
trying to discover the physical qualities of external 
objects, will recognise how utterly different it is to 
inspect a sensum and to perceive with it. 

There are several questions to be raised about in- 
spection, (i) I have said that, when we select a certain 
part of a sense-field in addition to merely sensing it, we 
must either inspect it or perceive with it. Can we do 
both? Can we perceive with and inspect precisely and 
numerically the same noise or apparently coloured 
patch? I think it is very doubtful whether we can. At 
any rate I find that, when I am tempted to think that I 
do so, I have really been alternating quickly to and fro 
between "perceiving with" and "inspecting". Now 
this raises a problem. My main motive as a philosopher 
for inspecting a certain noise or apparently coloured 
patch is to describe accurately the apparent qualities of 
the objective constituent of some auditory or visual 
perceptual situation. But, if what I inspect be probably 
never numerically the same as what I have perceived 
with, what right have I to believe that the objective 
constituent of the past perceptual situation had (or would 
have seemed to have) those characteristics which the 
objective constituent of the present inspective situation 
does now seem to have? To this question I can only 
make the following answers. No conclusive reason can 
be given for this belief; it is a memory-judgment, and 
the correctness of memory in general cannot be proved 
by argument. It may be that the characteristics which 
the objective constituent of an inspective situation seems 
to have are always different from those which the 
objective constituent of the immediately previous 
perceptual situation had or seemed to have. If it 
amuses anyone to assert this I cannot possibly refute 
him. But, on the other hand, there is not the least 
reason to believe him. If any memory-judgment be 
true, this one would seem to have the strongest possible 
claims. The numerical diversity of the two objective 



INTROSPECTION 299 

constituents is of course no bar to complete identity of 
their actual or their apparent qualities. And the two 
situations, and their respective objective constituents, 
are contiguous in time; so that there is the minimum 
possible opportunity for forgetting. 

(2) We can now state our position about the relation 
between inspection and memory. Inspection itself is 
not memory. The purely inspective situation does not 
refer to 'the past; it merely professes to describe the 
apparent characteristics of its own objective constituent, j 
But the objective constituent of an inspective situation 
is very often the objective constituent of a co-existing 
memory-situation. And the epistemological object of 
this memory-situation is such that, if anything corre- 
sponds to it, this corresponding object is the objective 
constituent of an immediately previous perceptual situa- 
tion or of some other immediately previous situation 
such as a memory-situation. In so far as we profess 
to be learning by inspection about the apparent char- 
acteristics of the objective constituent of a perceptual 
or memory-situation, we are relying, not on inspection 
alone, but on inspection and memory. But the condi- 
tions are such that, if any memory-situation be veridical, 
this one may reasonably be expected to be so. 

(3) What is the precise difference between trying to 
learn more accurately about the determinate qualities 
and the details of a perceived physical object by careful 
attention, and trying to learn more accurately about 
the determinate qualities and details of the objective 
constituent of a perceptual situation by inspection ? It 
seems to me that one very important difference is the 
following, (a) In the former case I do not try to keep 
the perceptual situation constant. I try to replace it 
by a certain series of perceptual situations with different 
objective constituents. And, in particular, I choose 
certain special situations whose objective constituents 
are believed to reveal certain details or qualities of the 
perceived object more fully or determinately than others. 



300 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

An elementary example of what I mean is looking at 
the thing from various points of view and approaching 
it until it is at the distance of most distinct vision. 
An exaggerated example is looking at the thing through 
some optical instrument, such as a microscope or a 
telescope. {b) In the latter case I try to keep the 
perceptual situation as nearly constant as I can, and 
to inspect the objective constituent of that situation or 
of others as like it as possible. To look through a 
microscope does not tell me more about the objective 
constituent of my previous visual situation ; it replaces 
it by another visual situation with the same episte- 
mological object and a different objective constituent. 
And the new objective constituent is supposed to justify 
certain more determinate judgments about the details 
of the perceived object than the old one could do. 

(4) There is one other question which I wish to 
discuss in this subsection. Is inspection infallible ; 
and, if so, in what sense? We must begin by drawing 
certain distinctions, (i) We must not confuse the pure 
inspective judgment with the memory-judgment which 
so often accompanies it and is based on the same 
objective constituent. Of the latter we can only say 
that it has as good a chance of being true as any 
memory -judgment can possibly have, and a much better 
chance than most memory-judgments have, (ii) We 
must not confuse the inspective judgment itself with the 
sentences in which we may try to express it to ourselves 
or to others. There are many more degrees of deter- 
minateness in our judgments than variations in language 
to express them. Owing to this inevitable limitation 
of language the most careful formulation of an inspective 
judgment in words may convey a wrong impression 
even though the judgment be itself true, (iii) There 
is no reason to suppose that inspective judgments are 
infallible in the sense of being exhaustive. Suppose 
I sense, select and inspect a certain noise or a certain 
apparently red patch. Such an object is exhaustively 



INTROSPECTION 301 

divisible in innumerable different ways into different 
sets of adjoined parts. Now some of these sets of 
adjoined parts may consist of members all of which are 
too small or of too short duration to be sensed or selected 
or inspected ; yet together the members of any one of 
these sets make up a whole which is sensed, selected 
and inspected. We must not suppose then that, because 
we inspect a certain spatio-temporally extended whole, 
we therefore, ipso facto, have inspective knowledge of 
all or of most of its parts, (iv) So far as I can see, a 
certain whole might have a certain characteristic and 
there might be a certain set of adjoined parts which 
make up this whole and do not have this characteristic. 
There might be another set of adjoined parts of the 
same whole all of which do have the same characteristic 
as the whole. E.g., a certain patch may appear red as 
a whole. There is one set of adjoined parts consisting 
of two halves of this patch ; each member of this set 
may also appear red. But there may also be a set of 
adjoined parts of the patch each member of which is too 
small to appear red or to appear to have any colour at 
all. Thus the characteristic of " appearing to be red " 
may belong to a whole and to some of its parts, but this 
whole may also be composed of a set of adjoined parts 
none of which has this characteristic of "appearing to 
be red ". Nor do I see any reason why the whole and 
some of its parts should not be red, whilst none of the 
members of a certain set of adjoined parts of this whole 
are red. And, just as a whole may have certain char- 
acteristics which do not belong to afiy member of a 
certain set of adjoined parts of it, so all the members of 
a certain set of adjoined parts of a certain whole might 
have some positive characteristic which does not belong 
to the whole or to some of its parts. A red whole may 
have a set of adjoined parts none of which is red ; and 
every one of these parts might, e.g., be a mind, whilst 
the whole is not a mind. We must not therefore 
suppose that, because we have inspective knowledge of 



4- 



302 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

certain characteristics of a certain whole, we shall there- 
fore, ipso facto, have inspective knowledge of all the 
characteristics of all its parts, (v) I have now pointed 
out certain common confusions which we must avoid in 
discussing our present question, and have shown that 
there is no reason to think that inspection will give us 
exhaustive information about its objects. The question 
that remains is this : " Is there any ground for doubting 
that the events which we inspect do have precisely those 
qualities which they seem to have and those parts which 
we seem to find on inspecting them as carefully as we 
can?" 

I think that the answer to this last question is that 
there is no ground for doubt in any case except when 
the apparent characteristics of the inspected event are 
ascribed by a memory-judgment to the objective con- 
stituent of an immediately past perceptual situation. I 
inspect a certain selected patch in my visual field, and I 
find that it looks elliptical. I make a memory-judgment 
ascribing this apparent shape to the objective constituent 
of an immediately past perceptual situation in which I 
claimed to be seeing the roiind top of a certain penny. 
Now, if I insist on identifying the objective constituent 
of this recent perceptual situation with the actual top of 
the penny, I have two alternatives, (i) I may reject the 
memory-judgment. I may say: "The objective con- 
stituent of my present inspective situation certainly 
appears elliptical ; but my memory-judgment that the 
objective constituent of my past perceptual situation 
appeared elliptical must be mistaken. The latter objec- 
tive constituent must have appeared round." On this 
alternative there is no need for me to suppose that 
either objective constituent seems to have a different 
characteristic from that which it does have. One was 
round and appeared so ; the other is elliptical and 
appears so ; my memory simply deceives me when I 
ascribe the characteristic of the second to the first, (ii) 
I may accept the memory-judgment. I may say : " The 



INTROSPECTION 303 

objective constituent of my present inspective situation 
certainly appears elliptical ; and my memory-judgment 
that the objective constituent of my past perceptual 
situation appeared elliptical is correct. So this latter 
objective constituent must have been round, although 
it appeared elliptical." On this alternative it is not 
indeed positively necessary to hold that the objective 
constituent of the present inspective situation has a 
different characteristic from that which it appears to 
have. But it is necessary to hold this about the objective 
constituent of the past perceptual situation. And this 
would make it very rash to be sure that the objective 
constituent of the present inspective situation does have 
the characteristic which it seems to have. For, if there 
is certainly this divergence between apparent and actual 
characteristics in the objective constituent of the per- 
ceptual situation, we can hardly feel confident that a 
like divergence may not exist in the case of the inspective 
situation. 

It will be noticed, however, that both these unpleasant 
alternatives depend on the assumption that the objective 
constituent of a perceptual situation must be literally a 
spatio-temporal part of the perceived physical object. 
If we reject this assumption, there is no reason why we 
should not accept both the view that the objective 
constituent of the inspective situation has the character- 
istics which it seems to have, and also the memory- 
judgment that the objective constituent of the previous 
perceptual situation seemed to have these same char- 
acteristics. For there is now no reason to suppose 
that the latter did not have the characteristics which 
the memory -judgment asserts that it seemed to 
have. We can therefore accept the memory -judgment 
without casting doubt on the proposition that the 
objective' constituent of the inspective situation has the 
characteristics which it seems to have. For, if there 
be now no reason to doubt that the objective constituent 
of the recent perceptual situation had the characteristics 



V 

i 



304 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

which we remember that it seemed to have, there is no 
reason to doubt that the objective constituent of the 
present inspective situation has the characteristics which 
it seems to have. 

The upshot of the matter is that there is no reason to 
doubt that inspection gives us information which is 
accurate, so far as it goes, about certain characteristics 
which actually belong to the inspected object ; and 
there is no reason to doubt that these characteristics 
did actually belong to the objective constituent of the 
immediately past perceptual situation. For the only 
ground for doubting either of these propositions is the 
assumption that the objective constituent of a perceptual 
situation must be literally identical with a certain part 
of the perceived physical object. And we saw, in 
discussing Perception, that there are almost conclusive 
objections to this assumption. 

Introspection Proper. It will be remembered that I 
refused to call the kind of cognition which I have just 
been discussing "Introspection" because I think it 
doubtful whether its objects, viz., sensa, images, bodily 
feelings, etc., can properly be regarded as "states of 
mind ". I am doubtful whether they are even exist- 
entially inznd-depe?ide?it, though I think it likely that 
they are to some extent qualitatively mind-dependent. 
Even if they be existentially mind-dependent it would 
not follow that they can be counted as states of our 
minds, i.e.^ as literally parts of that strand of history 
which is our Empirical Self. When we reflect I think 
we find that we do not really regard noises, visual and 
auditory images, and so on, as literally parts of our- 
selves or items in our mental history, in the sense in 
which we do regard "being aware of" a noise or an 
image as part of our mental history. About bodily 
feelings I think we are more doubtful. This is because 
we find more difficulty in distinguishing between a 
toothache and the awareness of a toothache than in 
distinguishing between a noise and the awareness of a 



INTROSPECTION 305 

noise. However this may be I think that every one 
would admit that what is indubitably mental and in- 
dubitably part of our mental history is such events as 
*' being aware of a noise ", " contemplating an image", 
''remembering a past event", "seeing a penny", and 
so on. If there are situations in which we have intuitive 
and non-inferential knowledge of such heterogeneous 
mental events as these there is no doubt that they would 
be called "introspective shua.tlons'' par exce//ence. 

We must begin by distinguishing these heterogeneous 
mental events into two classes, viz. (i) those which do, 
and (ii) those which do not have an external reference 
to an epistemological object. As we have seen, per- 
ceptual and memory-situations belong to the former 
class. So far as I can see, purely inspective situations 
would belong to the latter class. So would pure sen- 
sation, the mere awareness of an image, etc. Whether 
situations of the second kind ever exist in isolation is 
a doubtful point ; I am inclined to think that pure 
sensations, etc., are ideal limits rather than actual facts. 
But all situations of the first kind involve situations of 
the second kind ; we cannot perceive without sensing, 
or remember without being aware of a sensum or an 
image of some kind. Let us call situations of the first 
kind "referential" and those of the second kind 
" non-referential ". 

As we have said, all referential situations (^.^., per 
ceptual situations) have both an epistemological objec 
(e.g. the top of a certain penny) and an objective con 
stituent (e.g., a patch which appears brown and elliptical). 
They also involve a situation which is non-referential 
but has an objective constituent [e.g., the sensing of this 
sensum). When I say that they "involve" this, I 
think I mean something of the following kind. I mean 
that the perceptual situation could not exist unless I 
sensed this sensum, whilst it seems logically possible 
that I should sense a precisely similar sensum without 
perceiving anything. Whether this is causally possible 

U 



:4 



3o6 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

is another question ; and whether, even if it be causally- 
possible, it ever in fact happens is yet another 
question. I shall say that a perceptual situation is 
both ''objective" and "referential". I shall say that 
a pure sensation of a noise or a patch would be 
"objective" and "non-referential"; meaning that it 
would have an objective constituent, but no epistemo- 
logical object. Now, in theory there might be mental 
events which were referential and non-objective ; and 
mental events which were non-referential and non-objec- 
tive. I do not think that there are or could be instances 
of the former class. 1 am inclined to think that a refer- 
ential situation must also be an objective situation. 

^ B-utJ_am not at all sure that there are not mental events 

»• which are both non - objective and non - referential. 
Suppose, e.g.^ that noises, apparently coloured patches, 
and so on, were literally mental events, as many excellent 
people have held. Then it seems quite clear that they 
would be both non-objective and non-referential ; for a 
noise certainly does not contain something else as an 
objective constituent, as a perceptual situation may 
contain a noise as an objective constituent. Even if 
we deny that noises, coloured patches, and so on, are 
mental events, we might be inclined to hold that tooth- 
aches and other more obscure bodily feelings are so. 

\ If we do, we must count them as non-objective and 

I non-referential mental events. 

We must of course carefully distinguish between 
being "objective" in the present sense, and being 
" objectifiable." And we must further distinguish 
between being " epistemologically objectifiable" and 
being " psychologically objectifiable ". To be "objec- 
tive " means to be a situation which has an objective 
constituent. To be "epistemologically objectifiable" 
means to be capable of corresponding to the epistemo- 
logical object of some referential situation. Now every- 
thing is in principle epistemologically objectifiable, for 
everything can at least be thought about, and is thus 



INTROSPECTION 307 

capable of corresponding to the epistemological object 
of some thought-situation. To be "psychologically 
objectifiable " means to be capable of being an objec- 
tive constituent of some objective mental situation. If 
a toothache be a non-objective mental event, it neverthe- 
less becomes an objective constituent of a mental 
situation whenever it is inspected. If a noise be a 
non-objective mental event, it nevertheless becomes an 
objective constituent of a mental situation whenever it 
is sensed, or selected, or inspected, or used for per- 
ceiving. Thus, such events as these are certainly 
psychologically objectifiable even if they be themselves 
non-objective mental events. On the other hand, there 
is no reason whatever why all mental events should be 
psychologically objectifiable. It is in fact just those 
events which are certainly objective, in the present 
sense, about which we may most plausibly doubt 
whether they are psychologically objectifiable. 

All mental events which we need consider at present ^ 
are^^ertainly "owned" by some Empirical Self; i.e.^ f-~ 
they are literally parts of its history. Now owning is 
ffot itself a mode of cognition. What is owned may be 
"felt" or "sensed" ; and this is a mode of cognition. 
But, even if everything that is owned be felt or sensed, 
and everything that is felt or sensed be owned, the 
relation of owning differs from that of feeling or sensing. 
What is felt or sensed may be selected ; and what is 
selected may be inspected or used as the objective con- 
stituent of some referential situation, such as perception 
or memory. 

We must then distinguish three kinds of event, of 
which the following are examples, (i) A noise or a / 
toothache. This is studied by inspection ; and, if it be ) 
a mental event at all, it will be non-objective and non- i 
referential. Such mental events, if such there be, may ' 
be called "purely subjective", (ii) The feeling of a 
toothache or the sensing of a noise. This is an objective 
and non-referential mental event, (iii) The perception 



3o8 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

of a process in one's tooth by means of the felt tooth- 
ache ; or the perception of a process in a bell by means 
of the sensed noise. This is an objective and referential 
mental event. If there be introspection proper, as 
distinct from inspection, it is concerned with events of 
the second and third kind. Let us begin by consider- 
ing our knowledge of objective but non-referential 
situations, such as sensing a noise or feeling a pang of 
toothache. 

People who deny that we can introspect such situa- 
tions rest their case on the fact that, when I try to 
introspect the situation of sensing a noise or feeling a 
toothache, I seem to find myself merely /;^specting the 
noise or the toothache itself. I imagine that this is what 
people are referring to when they talk of the» "dia- 
phanous " character of "consciousness ". Others admit 
that they seem to find something beside the noise or 
the toothache, but tell us that this "something more" 
is merely certain feelings connected with the adjust- 
ment of their sense-organs or with the reactions of other 
parts of their bodies. These men are also inclined to 
deny that we can introspect the situation of sensing a 
noise or feeling a toothache. Now it seems to me that 
the latter set of psychologists are very nearly right in 
what they assert, and quite wrong in what they deny. 
If there be such a thing as an objective situation it 
must presumably consist of at least two constituents, 
related in a certain specific way by an asymmetrical 
relation so that one of these constituents occupies a 
special position (viz.f that of objective constituent) and 
the other occupies a characteristically different position 
(viz., that of subjective constituent). Now suppose that 
there were complexes of this kind, and that I were 
acquainted with them introspectively, we ought not to 
expect the relating relation, which makes this a complex 
of such and such a structure, to be presented to us in 
the same way as the substantival constituents. The 
relating relation of a complex never is a constituent of 



INTROSPECTION 309 

it in the same sense in which the terms are. When I 
look at a pattern composed of three dots, A, B, and C, 
arranged in that order on a line, I know intuitively that 
B is between A and C. But I do not *' see " the relation 
of " between " in the sense in which I " see " the dots ; 
though it would be quite in accordance with usage to 
say that '' I see that B is between A and C ". Now no 
one in his senses supposes that the fact that I "see" 
nothing but the dots proves, either that the dots are not 
in fact related in a certain order by the relation of 
"between", or that I do not know this relation in a 
perfectly direct and non-inferential way. People who 
make such facts as we have been mentioning an argu- 
ment against the possibility of introspective knowledge 
of objective mental situations are demanding of intro- 
spection something which no one thinks of demanding 
of inspection, and something which is from the nature 
of the case incapable of fulfilment. If they contented 
themselves with saying : " When I try to introspect the 
sensing of a noise or the feeling of a pang of toothache 
the only particular existents which are intuitively presented 
to me are the noise or the toothache and certain bodily 
feelings," they might be approximately or exactly right. 
But it seems to me perfectly clear that these particular 
existents are presented to me as terms, each of which 
occupies a characteristic position in a complex of a certain 
specific kind. This complex is the objective mental 
situation of sensing the noise or feeling the toothache ; 
and we have direct non-inferential knowledge of its 
relating relation, as we have of the relating relation of 
"between" when a pattern of three dots in a line is 
presented to our inspection. Naturally, further know- 
ledge of the situation will consist largely in learning 
more about the characteristics of its constituents by in- 
specting them ; just as we should learn more about a 
pattern of dots of various colours by seeing exactly what 
colour belongs to each dot in each position in the 
pattern. But, if we were confined to inspecting each 



^' 



310 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 



^ 



'S^^ 



constituent, we should never know that they were con- 
stituents of a whole of a certain specific structure. And 
it seems to me that we do know this about the noise or 
the toothache and the bodily feelings which we find 
when we try to introspect the situation of sensing a 
noise or feeling a toothache. 

There is one other remark to be made before leaving 
this subject. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that, 
when I try to introspect the situation of sensing a noise 
or feeling a toothache, no particular existent except the 
noise or the toothache itself were presented to my mind 
as an object. It would still be most rash to conclude 
that the situation does not contain anything but the 
noise or the toothache, or to conclude that I cannot 
know directly and non-inferentially that it contains 
more than this. Suppose, e.g., that the situation con- 
tained two constituents, one of which is sensed and can 
be selected, whilst the other is only sensed or felt and 
cannot be selected or inspected. Then, if we tried to 
introspect the situation, nothing would be presented 
to us except the former constituent. But, since the 
other constituent is sensed or felt by us, though it 
cannot be selected or inspected by us, we might quite 
well know with complete certainty that what we are 
inspecting is not the whole of the situation. We must 
therefore always be prepared for the possibility that the 
constituents of a mental situation which we can actually 
inspect are not the whole of its constituents ; and we 
must be prepared to recognise that we may be able to 
k^tow this directly and non-inferentially because the 
remaining constituents are felt or sensed by us though 
not selected or inspected. 

To sum up. I cannot of course prove that we have 
introspective knowledge of such situations as sensing 
a noise or feeling a toothache, beside inspective know- 
ledge of the noise or toothache itself. I can only say 
that it seems to me that I do have it, though it may be 
very inadequate ; and that I do not understand how 



INTROSPECTION 311 

otherwise I could distinguish between the existence of 
noises and toothaches and the senshig or feeling of them. 
But I do think that I have shown that the reasons 
which have been brought forward for believing that I 
do not have such knowledge are utterly inadequate to 
prove this conclusion or even to make it probable. 

I now pass to the case of mental situations which are 
referential as well as objective; e.g.^ perceptual situa- 
tions, memory-situations, and so on. There is a diffi- 
culty here which does not apply to non-referential 
objective situations, such as we have just been con- 
sidering. It seems very doubtful whether I can at 
the same time refer to an epistemological object and 
also make the mental situation which has this external 
reference into an objective constituent of an intro- 
spective situation. For this would require a division 
of attention between two very different objects, and it 
is doubtful whether we can accomplish anything more 
than a quick alternation of attention backwards and 
forwards between the two. Here I think we must draw 
a distinction between two different cases ; viz., (i) 
attending simultaneously to two objects of the same 
order, and (ii) attending to a situation which itself 
involves attending to something else. It is the latter 
of these which I doubt to be possible ; and this would 
be involved by the claim to introspect perceptual and 
memory-situations. The former seems to me to be 
difficult, but not impossible. Attention has various 
degrees ; and, although it may be impossible to attend 
equally to two different objects of the same order at the 
same time, it does seem to be possible to distribute 
one's attention so that each of them gets some of it, 
though one gets more than the other. In particular 
it seems to me to be possible to attend to a situation 
which does not itself involve attention to something 
else, and at the same time to use this situation as the 
objective constituent of a memory-situation which refers 
to a certain epistemological object. I therefore suggest 




312 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OE EXISTENTS 

that what is called "introspecting" a perceptual or 
memory-situation should be analysed as follows, (a) 
We really do introspect something else, which is now 
present; and (^) we make this "something else" the 
objective constituent of a memory - situation whose 
epistemological object is such that, if anything corre- 
sponds to it, what does so is the immediately past 
perceptual or memory-situation which we are commonly 
said to be " introspecting." 

The next question is: " What is it that we really do 
introspect in such cases, and make the objective con- 
stituent of a memory-situation?" Let us suppose that 
we are concerned with a perceptual situation. This 
contains ia) a sensed and selected sensum ; {b) certain 
bodily feelings connected with the adjustment and ex- 
citement of the relevant sense-organs ; (c) certain bodily 
feelings connected with the adjustment of our muscles, 
etc., in order to respond to the situation ; {d) possibly 
certain images, and certainly vague but characteristic 
feelings, due to the excitement of traces. The whole of 
these are bound together into a complex of an unique 
kind, in consequence of which the whole situation has 
such and such an external reference. Suppose now 
that we pass immediately from the perceptive to the 
introspective attitude, ia) There will still be a sensed 
and selected sensum, continuous with and qualitatively 
similar to that which was the objective constituent of 
the immediately past perceptual situation, {b) Since 
the relevant sense-organs will still be adjusted and 
excited as before, the bodily feelings connected with 
these will be continuous with and qualitatively like 
those which were constituents of the perceptual situa- 
tion, {c) On the other hand, we shall no longer be 
adjusting our muscles, etc., so as to react to the situa- 
tion practically. Hence the feelings connected with 
such adjustments in the past perceptual situation will 
not be continued in the present situation. It is not 
unlikely, however, that they will be represented by 



INTROSPECTION 313 

images which resemble them in quality and bear the 
mark of "familiarity", {d) The traces excited in the 
perceptual situation will still be excited, so that the 
present situation will contain images and feelings which 
are continuous with and similar to those which were 
due to the excitement of these traces in the perceptual 
situation. So far then there is probably a great re- '^ 
semblance between the constituents of the present situa-'X- 
tion, which we introspect, and the immediately past I' 
situation, which we remember by means of it. There 
is probably no constituent of the present introspected 
situation which does not resenfble or continue some 
constituent of the immediately past perceptual situation. 
And the constituents of the introspected situation are 
probably so related that its structure is at least analogous 
to that of the perceptual situation. But there is this 
difference. The images, feelings, etc., were purely 
subjective constituents of the original perceptual situa- 
tion. The feelings, images, etc., which continue and 
resemble them in the introspects*^ situation, are now 
psychologically objectified; i.e., they have become ob- 
jective constituents of the introspectzw situation. The 
latter contains a new subjective constituent, which con- 
sists of (or, at any rate, includes) those bodily feelings 
which are characteristic of the purely theoretic and con- 
templative situation of introspecting as distinct from the 
active and practical situation of perceiving. And this new 
subjective constituent is related in a characteristic way to 
the introspected situation and its constituents, so that the 
whole thus formed contains the latter as its objective con- 
stituent. In contemplating the constituents and the » 
structureof the presentintrospectedsituationwe remember 
the similar constituents and the analogous, but not identi- 
cal, structure of the immediately past perceptualsituation. | 

Thismemory-judgmenthas no moreclaimtoinfallibility 
than any other memory-judgment about equally recent 
events. Like all such judgments, it cannot be defended 
by argument against a sceptic who chooses to doubt the 



314 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

trustworthiness of memory in general. But there is no 
special reason for doubting the substantial correctness of 
this particular kind of memory-judgment ; and therefore 
no special reason to doubt that perceptual and other 
referential situations have substantially the structure 
and the constituents which we assign to them on the 
ground of introspection and memory. 

Summary of Conclusions. {A), (i) If there were a 
Pure Ego, and it were timeless, it might literally be 
part of the total objective constituent of every introspec- 
tive situation. But (2) even if it were so, it certainly 
does not manifest any of its empirical qualities (if it has 
any) in any introspective situation. And (3) it is cer- 
tainly never the whole of the objective constituent of any 
introspective situation. (4) There is therefore no direct 
reason to believe that it is a part of the objective constitu- 
ent of any introspective situation. (5) If it exists, and is 
known at all, it is known discursively by comparison of 
contemporary and successive mental events which we 
introspect. It does not follow from this that its existence 
and properties are known, if at all, only by inference. 

{E) (i) The Empirical Self cannot, from its nature, 
be literally an objective constituent of any introspective 
situation. But (2) it is possible that every introspective 
situation might claim that its objective constituent is 
literally a part of the Empirical Self; and it is possible 
that this claim might be true. (3) If we distinguish 
Introspection Proper from Inspection, I think we must 
admit that this claim is made by all genuinely intro- 
spective situations. And (4) there seems to be no 
positive reason for rejecting it, as there is in the case 
of the analogous claim which the perceptual situation 
makes for its objective constituent. (5) This does not 
imply that there may not be mental events which are 
not parts of the history of any Empirical Self. It im- 
plies only that, if there be such events, they are not 
possible objects of introspection. 



INTROSPECTION 315 

(C). (i) The so-called " Epistemological Introspec- 
tion", by which we know "what we are believing", 
"what we are desiring", and so on, is not a special 
kind of introspection. It can be analysed into a process 
which is not introspection at all, and into another which 
is ordinary Psychological Introspection. (2) There 
are situations in which an event, such as an image, a 
twinge of toothache, a noise, etc., are examined with 
a view to discovering accurately their own apparent 
qualities instead of learning about the physical qualities 
of our own or external bodies. Such situations are 
called by us " Inspective ", because it is doubtful 
whether the events which are their objective constituents 
are states of mind at all. (3) If such events be states of 
mind, they are "non-objective", in the sense that they 
do not contain objective constituents, though they may 
de and often are objective constituents of other mental 
events. And, on this supposition, inspection will be 
the kind of introspection which is concerned with non- 
objective mental events. (4) Introspection proper is 
concerned with objective situations, such as perceptual 
and memory-situations, the sensing of sensa, the feeling 
of toothaches, and so on. These are undoubtedly mental 
events ; and it is an essential factor of the introspective 
situation to claim that they are parts of the history of 
the Empirical Self. 

(D) (i) There is no reason to doubt that inspection is 
correct, so far as it goes, in the information which it 
supplies about the apparent characteristics of its objective 
constituents. And (2) there is no good reason to doubt 
that the latter have the characteristics which they seem 
on careful inspection to have. But (3) there is no 
ground for supposing that inspective knowledge is 
exhaustive. An inspected whole may have sets of 
adjoined parts, such that no member of one of these 
sets is revealed to inspection. And members of such 
sets may have characteristics which are not manifested 
to inspection, which differ from those that are mani- 



3i6 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

fested as belonging to the whole, and which differ from 
those that are manifested as belonging to members of 
other sets of adjoined parts of the same inspected whole. 
(4) When we profess to be inspecting the objective 
constituent of a perceptual situation we are probably 
inspecting a later event, which is continuous with and 
qualitatively similar to the former ; and are using it as 
the basis for a memory-judgment about the former. 
This memory-judgment is not infallible ; but it has as 
good a chance of being true as any memory-judgment, 
and a better chance than most. 

{E). (i) The existence of introspection proper has 
been denied on the ground that, when we try to intro- 
spect an objective situation, we find ourselves merely 
inspecting its objective constituent ; or, at best, this 
together with certain bodily feelings. (2) This con- 
tention has no weight, because it rests on the assump- 
tion that, if we have non-inferential knowledge of the 
structure of a whole, this structure must be presented 
in the same way as the constituents. And this demand 
is absurd. Moreover (3) it is perfectly possible that an 
objective situation may have constituents which cannot 
be made into objects of inspection. And it is possible 
that we may- know this ; because these constituents, 
though not capable of being selected or inspected, are 
nevertheless sensed or felt. (4) It seems likely that we 
cannot strictly introspect situations which, beside being 
objective, have also an external reference to an epistemo- 
logical object. This is not so much because it is difficult 
to attend to two different objects at once as because it is 
difficult to attend to a situation which itself involves 
attention to something else. (5) Here again we have 
probably to be content with introspecting a present non- 
referential situation and usingthis as thebasis formemory- 
judgments about the structure and constituents of the 
immediately past referential situation. Such memory- 
judgments are not infallible ; but there is no specm/ reason 
I for thinking that they are peculiarly likely to be incorrect. 



CHAPTER VII 

The Mind's Knowledge of Other Minds 

The proper analysis of our belief in the existence of 
other minds, and the question of how it can be justified, 
have been far less thoroughly discussed by philosophers 
than the corresponding questions about matter and 
our alleged knowledge of it. Many philosophers have 
wanted to deny the reality of material objects, and have 
felt that it was a feather in their caps when they suc- 
ceeded in doing so to the satisfaction of themselves and 
their followers. But, seemingly, no one wants to be a 
Solipsist ; and scarcely anyone has admitted himself to 
be one. It has been left to rival philosophers to tell 
him that, on his principles, he ought to be one ; and 
this has generally been regarded as a charge to be 
repelled and not as a compliment to be thankfully 
acknowledged. We should be doing too much credit 
to human consistency if we ascribed this to the fact that 
all convinced Solipsists have kept silence and refused 
to waste their words on the empty air. It would seem 
then that we have a stronger belief in the existence of 
other minds than in the existence of material things. 
No one in his senses doubts either proposition in 
practice ; but the philosopher can and does doubt the 
latter in his study, whilst, even in that chaste seclusion, 
he seems to be unable or unwilling to doubt the former. 
I do not think that this difference can be ascribed either 
to the fact that the evidence for the existence of other 
minds is more cogent than fhe evidence for the existence 
of matter, or to the fact that we have a stronger in- 
stinctive belief in the former than in the latter. I think 

317 



3i8 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

that the real explanation is that certain strong emotions 
are bound up with the belief in other minds, and that 
no very strong emotions are bound up with the belief 
in matter. The position of a philosopher with no one 
but himself to lecture to, and no hope of an audience, 
would be so tragic that the human mind naturally 
shrinks from contemplating such a possibility. It is 
our business, however, to stifle our emotions for the 
present, and to follow the argument whithersoever it 
may lead. 

Analysis of the Belief in Other Minds. I wish to 
begin, as usual, with propositions about which every 
one will agree. Now, I think it would be admitted by 
every one that the perception of a foreign body of a 
certain kind, which moves, alters its expression, makes 
noises, and so on, in certain characteristic ways, is a 
necessary part of the basis of our belief in the existence 
and activity of another mind. ■ The only exception to 
this statement that I can think of is that some few people 
have claimed under exceptional circumstances to be in 
direct communion with God or with other spirits without 
perceiving a characteristic kind of body moving in 
characteristic ways or making characteristic sounds. 
But such claims are rare and hard to test. Setting 
aside such exceptional cases for the present, I think we 
may say that the above proposition would generally be 
admitted. 

I want at once to remove two possible misunderstand- 
ings, (i) I say only that the perception of such physical 
objects and events is a necessary part of the basis of our 
belief in other minds. I do not say that it is sufficient. 
There may be other ingredients which are equally 
necessary. (2) I say only that the perception of such 
physical objects and events is a necessary part of the 
basis of the belief in other minds. I express no opinion 
at present about the nature of the connexion between 
this perception and this belief. In particular I must 



<^ 



MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER MINDS 319 

not be understood to be asserting that the perceptual 
judgment forms 2i premise from which the belief in other 
minds is infen-ed. The sensing and selecting of a 
certain sensum is a necessary part of the basis of our 
perceptual belief in the existence of a certain physical 
object or the happening of a certain physical event. 
But the two are not connected as premise and conclusion 
of an argument. 

We must next distinguish between our belief that a 
certain external body is animated by a mind other than 
our own, and the belief that at a certain moment a 
certain mental event which does not belong to my 
mental history is happening in intimate connexion with 
a certain external body. A mind, in the sense of an , t 
Empirical Self, consists of a number of simultaneous ]^ 
and successive mental events united into a whole of a 
certain characteristic structure. Hence, whenever we 
believe that a certain external body is animated by a 
certain mind, we are no doubt equally justified in 
believing that there is a series of mental events of some 
kind intimately connected with this body. But it might 
well happen that we believed much more strongly that 
this body is animated by a mind than that a particular 
mental event of a certain specific kind was going on in 
this mind at a certain time and expressing itself by a 
certain particular perceptible bodily change. I may be 
practically certain that the body of my friend is animated 
by a mind ; and yet very doubtful, on a certain occasion 
when I see him frowning, whether he is angry, or 
thinking deeply, or in pain. Again, it is very far from 
certain that all mental events must occur as members of 
those sets of interrelated mental events which we call 
" Empirical Selves". We might then strongly believe 
that a certain movement of an external body is the 
outward expression of a certain mental event which 
does not belong to our mind ; and yet we might be very 
doubtful whether this external body is animated by a 
mind at all. E.g.^ I might feel tolerably certain that. 



320 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

when an insect is injured and writhes about, there is a 
feeling of pain which is no part of my mind and is 
intimately connected with these writhing movements of 
the insect's body. And yet I might be very doubtful 
whether the insect's body is animated by anything that 
could reasonably be called a "mind". This feeling 
might be quite isolated. Or, if it be in fact a member 
of a group of interrelated simultaneous and successive 
mental events, this group might be so poor in content 
and so loose in structure as not to deserve the name of 
"mind". When we contemplate other human bodies 
and their behaviour (including in this their speech and 
writing) we do believe both that they are animated by 
minds and that certain specific mental events are going 
on in those minds when the bodies behave in certain 
specific ways. Most men believe that the bodies of cats 
and dogs are animated by minds, and also that certain 
specific events are going on in these minds when cats 
and dogs behave in certain ways. Even if we doubt 
this on philosophic reflexion, we find it very difficult not 
to act as if we believed it. But even here I think we 
are slightly more certain that there are specific experi- 
ences connected with certain specific bodily behaviour 
than that the body of the animal is animated by a mind. 
If one sees and hears an animal, such as a dog or a 
rabbit, with its leg caught in a trap, it is practically 
impossible at the time to doubt that there is a painful 
feeling which is being expressed by its struggles and 
cries. But one would feel a little less certain that the 
body of a dog or a rabbit is animated by anything that 
could fairly be called a "mind", unless one were 
already convinced that all mental events must belong 
to some mind. When we come to living beings which 
are very different from ourselves, such as insects, we 
feel rather doubtful about postulating mental events at 
all ; more doubtful about the precise character of the 
mental event which accompanies a given movement ; 
and extremely doubtful about the supposition that 



MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER MINDS 321 

« 
there is a mind which animates the body of the 

insect. 

Let us henceforth confine ourselves to the case of 
human bodies and their perceptible behaviour. I think 
it will be agreed that, when we see anything which has 
the characteristic shape, size, appearance, and move- 
ments of a human body, we treat it as if it were animated 
by a mind like our own. And, if it responds to this 
treatment in the way in which we expect it to do, we 
have no doubt whatever on this point. If it does not, 
we have much the same feeling of shock and surprise 
as we have when we lift something which looks like a 
heavy weight but is really made of painted cardboard. 
Our presumption that this body is animated by a mind 
is, as I have said, based on its general appearance in 
the first instance ; but it is supported or refuted by the 
order and connexion (or the lack of these) which we 
afterwards find in its behaviour. A particular, and 
vitally important, case of this general principle is that 
of connected rational speech. If something which looks 
like a human being talks in a connected way, and makes 
appropriate answers to questions, it is not practically f 

possible to doubt that it is animated by a mind. Since if-. '>7u^^( 
a mind is a whole_oLsuitably interrelated mental events, 
it is natural enough that the basis for our belief in other 
minds should be suitably connected series of physical 
events rather than any particular isolated physical 
event. 

Besides this general belief that things which look like 
human bodies and perform certain chains of behaviour 
are animated by minds, we have more specific beliefs 
about what is going on in those minds on certain 
occasions. On observing certain facial expressions, 
such as frowning, we have a tendency to believe that 
there is a certain emotion, such as anger, in the mind 
which animates the body which we are observing. On 
hearing a human body emit certain sounds we have a 
tendency to believe that the mind which animates it 

X 



322 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

is suffering a painful sensation, and so on. Here we 
must draw a sharp distinction between two different 
ways in which we may come to believe that a certain 
mind is having a certain experience. (i) The body 
which we are perceiving may make a series of noises 
or conventional gestures which form a coherent and 
intelligible "sentence". This sentence we understand, 
and we then tend to believe that the mind which animates 
this body is having the experience which we understand 
that it is describing to us. In that case we assign to 
the mind, not only the particular experience which it 
is describing, but also a certain kind of cognitive ex- 
perience. When a body emits the series of noises : "I 
have toothache ", we commonly believe that the mind 
which animates it has this peculiar feeling, unless we 
have some special reason to think that it is lying. But, 
in addition to this, we always believe that it is making 
a judgment of some sort. If it is trying to tell the 
truth, it is making a judgment about its present experi- 
ence. And, if it is lying, it is still making a judgment 
about something. We may call this way of arousing 
belief in the existence of a certain mental event a 
"conventional expression", (ii) We ascribe on certain 
occasions certain experiences to a foreign mind even 
when it does not and cannot tell us of them. And, 
conversely, beings who cannot understand spoken or 
written words probably ascribe certain experiences to 
other minds on certain occasions. If I see a baby 
smiling or hear a dog snarling I ascribe a pleasant 
feeling to the baby and a feeling of anger to the dog, 
although they cannot describe their experiences to me 
by any conventional expression. And, on the other 
hand, it seems most likely that babies and dogs often 
know when those who surround them are angry or 
pleased, although such creatures could not understand 
what we were saying if we tried to describe our mental 
states to them. I will call this way of arousing belief 
in the existence of a certain experience in a foreign 



MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER MINDS 323 

mind "natural expression". The experiences which 
most obviously have characteristic natural expressions 
are certain emotions, such as anger, and pleasant or 
painful bodily feelings. But I think that there are 
other experiences which have characteristic natural ex- 
pressions. If I am doing something and another human 
body starts to struggle with me and try to hinder me I 
can hardly help believing that the mind which animates 
this body has a volition which is opposed to what I am 
doing. If, on the other hand, the other human body 
starts to co-operate with me I can hardly help believing 
that the mind which animates it has a volition which 
is in accord with what I am doing. Again, if I see 
another human body performing a chain of actions 
which seem well adapted to lead up to a certain end ; 
if I see it avoiding obstacles or trying to modify them ; 
I can hardly help believing that this body is animated 
by a mind which is not only desiring a certain end but 
is also thinking about the proper means to gain it. 
Lastly, whenever a body emits coherent and intelligible 
sentences it is always naturally expressing the kind of 
experience called "judgment" or "supposition" or 
"questioning", no matter what else it may be <:(9;^- 
ventionally Q^^^x^tss\ng. If it says "I have toothache", 
and I believe what the words mean, this set of sounds 
conventionally expresses to me the presence of a feeling 
of toothache ; but the mere fact that the words form 
an intelligible sentence naturally expresses to me the 
presence of an act of judgment. When I say that I 
have a certain state of mind I deliberately and con- 
ventionally express only that state of mind ; but I 
involuntarily and naturally express in addition the state 
of mind called "judging". It seems clear that natural 
expression is more primitive and fundamental than con- ) 
ventional expression, so we will begin with it. 

Natural Expression. The question to be considered in 
this subsection is: "What is the nature of the con- 
nexion between perceiving a certain facial expression 




324 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

or natural gesture in a foreign body and believing that 
there is a certain mental event going on at the time 
and expressing itself through this bodily event?" 

In the first place, I must point out that we are probably 
intellectualising the situation when we talk of a " belief 
in" or "judgment about" the mental event. As in the 
case of perception, it would be truer to say that we act 
as if we believed that such and such an event was 
happening, and are surprised if the results of our 
action give us the lie. So we had better talk of a 
" quasi-belief ". A dog acts as it would be reasonable 
for him to act if he believed his master to be angry 
when his master shows the external signs of anger ; 
but it is very doubtful whether the dog has the peculiar 
experience of judging or believing a proposition. And, 
in most of our intercourse with other human beings, 
we are in the same' position as the dog in the example. 
The only difference is that we can reflect and afterwards 
make the judgment "in accordance with which" we 
have been acting ; whilst a dog or a baby presumably 
cannot. 

I can now clear the ground by making certain 
negative statements. (i) It seems to me to be abso- 
lutely certain that the belief in other human minds, 
and the belief that a certain human mind is having 
a certain experience on a certain occasion, are not 
reached by inference, even if they can be afterwards 
justified up to the hilt by inference. It is perfectly 
certain that I do not now make an inference when 
I I see my friend frowning and believe that he is angry. 
And the notion that, as a baby, I began by looking 
in a mirror when I felt cross, noting my facial expres- 
sion at the time, observing a similar expression from 
time to time on the face of my mother or nurse, and 
then arguing by analogy that these external bodies are 
probably animated by minds like my own, which are 
feeling cross, is too silly to need refutation. If the belief 
in other minds and other mental events were reached in 



MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER MINDS 325 

this way, it might perhaps be entertained as a bfjld 
speculative opinion by a few exceptionally ingenious 
and observant persons at the ripe age of thirty-five. 
Its actual strength and its universal distribution would 
be utterly inexplicable on this hypothesis. 

(2) Next, I think it is equally clear that our ascription 
of minds to other human bodies, and our ascription of 
certain states to these minds on certain occasions,/ 
cannot be due to direct associations acquired in the 
course of our lives. A direct association between a 
certain facial expression and a certain emotion could 
arise only in the following way. We should need to 
have often seen a certain expression ie.g.^ a frown) on ■ 
our own faces when we felt a certain emotion ie.g.^ 
anger). If this could happen often enough, the visual 
appearance of this facial change might be associated 
with this emotion. When we saw a similar expression 
on another face we might automatically believe in the 
existence of a similar emotion, and we might locate it 
in the mind which animates this other body. But 
(i) the conditions which would be needed for the estab- 
lishment of such an association are not and cannot 
in fact be fulfilled. We cannot see our own facial 
expressions at all except by looking in mirrors ; and 
most of us pass through life with very little direct 
perceptual knowledge of what we "look like" when 
we feel angry, or pleased, or in pain. Of course, the 
same remarks do not apply to the natural expression 
of states of mind by interjectional noises. A baby 
who is in pain and howls can hear itself howling. 
An association might therefore be formed in its mind 
between the feeling of pain and the sound of howling. 
If it now heard a similar howl from another baby, it 
might automatically ascribe a painful feeling to it. 
Still, it is plain that this will not carry us very far ; 
for many states of mind which have a natural expres- 
sion are not naturally expressed by characteristic sounds, 
but by characteristic facial modifications, (ii) Even if 



326 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

an association were somehow established between the 

visual appearance of a certain facial expression and 

the occurrence of a certain state of mind in ourselves, 

it is not obvious that this would suffice to explain our 

belief that this state is now happening in another mind 

when we see this expression on another face. The 

sight of this expression on another face might simply 

evoke a mild occurrence of the feeling in my own 

mind. But, even if it evokes in me the idea of that 

feeling, I might make various uses of this idea. 

I might just as well think of the past occurrence of 

this feeling in myself ^.s believe in the /r^i'^?;/^' occurrence 

of this feeling in another. We may conclude then that 

"^ V the supposed association could not in fact be formed 

V in the course of our lives ; and that, even if it were, 

! it would not suffice by itself to account for our belief 

\ that a certain kind of event is happening in another 

I mind when we see a certain kind of expression on 

another face. 

There are two kinds of direct association which may 
be formed in the course of our lives, and must be care- 
fully distinguished from the kind of association which I 
have just rejected, (i) When I frown, or have any 
\ other characteristic bodily modification, there is no 
( doubt a characteristic bodily feeling.' It is therefore 
, very likely indeed that an association is quickly formed 
\ between certain of my mental states and the bodily 
feelings which are connected with their natural expres- 
; sion. But this kind of association evidently does not 
carry me beyond my owm mind and its states, (ii) It 
may be that a certain facial expression in another body 
which I can perceive has often been followed by overt 
action on the part of that body, and that this has often 
ended by producing some characteristic sensation and 
emotion in my mind. E.g.^ it might be that, as a rule, 
when I have seen people frowning, they have followed 
up their frowns by blows ; and these may have caused 
pain and fear in my mind. An association may thus be 



(^ 



-'^IND'S KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER MINDS 327 {, ^^ . 

V 

formed between the perception of another's frown and 
the expectation of pain and fear in myself. But exactly 
the same kind of association may be formed in connexion 
with objects to which we do not ascribe minds or mental 
states, as when a "burnt child" learns to "dread the 
fire." Flence this kind of association cannot suffice to 
account for our belief in the existence of other minds, or / 

of certain mental states which do not belong to our own 
minds. 

(3) It^ is now clear that we do not come to believe 
by a process of inference that other human bodies are 
animated by minds, and that we do not come to believe 
this through associations which have been formed in 
the course of our lives. And it is not in consequence 
of inference or of acquired associations that we ascribe 
certain states to other minds on seeing certain facial ex- 
pressions on other bodies. Hence only two alternatives 
seem to be left. Either (i) there are certain cognitive 
situations which actually contain other minds or certain 
of their states as objective constituents ; or (ii) the visual 1 
appearance of certain bodily forms, movements, gestures, ' 
and modifications, has for us an unacquired meaning ; so 
that, from the first, we pass from perceiving such things 
to believing that the perceived body is animated by a 
mind, and that this mind is owning such and such anj 
experience. I will now say something about these twd 
alternatives. 

For reasons which have been repeated ad nauseam in ]) 
the case of perception and introspection it is not possible 
that a mind, in the sense of an Empirical Self which 
may endure for years, can literally be a constituent of 
a cognitive situation which may last only for a few 
minutes. So at most we can suppose that the objective 
constituents of certain of our cognitive situations are 
mental events which in fact form parts of the history of 
other Empirical Selves. There is unfortunately no 
name, corresponding to "perception" and "introspec- 
tion ", for those situations in which we seem to be in 



328 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

direct cognitive contact with other minds and their 
states. But, as we shall often have to refer to them, 
we had better invent a name for them. For want of a 
better word, let us call them " extraspective situations". 
This name is not to imply any special theory about the 
right analysis of such situations. 

We must next notice that, even if mental events 
which are not owned by our minds be parts of the 
objective constituent of an extraspective situation, they 
are never the whole of its objective constituent. The 
perception of another body and of certain movements or 
modifications of it is essential to extraspection ; and so 
one part of the objective constituent of any extraspective 
situation is the visual and other sensa by which the 
foreign body appears to us in perception. If there be 
cognitive situations in which a mental event belonging 
to another mind is the sole objective constituent, they 
must be classed separately. They might be called 
"telepathic" or " telegnostic ", as distinct from "extra- 
spective" situations. It will be remembered that we said 
that a perceptual situation always involves a sensational 
situation, and that it is perhaps doubtful whether purely 
sensational situations actually exist or are causally 
possible. On the alternative which we are at present 
considering, some if not all extraspective situations 
would involve a telegnostic situation ; whilst all would 
involve a perceptual situation. It is of course certain 
that perceptual situations can and do exist apart from 
extraspective situations ; but a person who accepted the 
present alternative about extraspective situations might 
quite legitimately doubt whether purely telegnostic 
situations exist or are causally possible. 

The next point to notice is this. It would not be 
necessary for an upholder of the present theory to assert 
that (^//extraspective situations contain a foreign mental 
event as part of their objective constituent. Suppose 
that a considerable number of extraspective situations 
involve telegnostic situations ; that they all involve 



MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER MINDS 329 

perceptual situations with characteristic objective con- 
stituents ; and that purely telegnostic situations rarely, 
if ever, arise. Then an association would be formed 
between such and such visual and auditory appearances 
and such and such foreign mental events. Suppose 
now that a purely perceptual situation were to arise, 
having for its objective constituents these characteristic 
visual and auditory sensa. Then this association would 
probably be excited, and we should automatically 
believe in the existence of such and such a foreign 
mental event, though it is not part of the objective 
constituent of the present cognitive situation. Beliefs 
reached in this way might often be true ; but they might 
often be false. Thus the present theory is quite com- 
patible with the existence of delusive extraspective 
situations. 

Now the kind of association which would certainly be 
formed if the present theory be true would presumably 
work both ways. Suppose then that a purely teleg- 
nostic situation were to arise. The association would 
now tend to call up images of a human being with the 
facial expression which corresponds to the mental event 
which is being telegnostically cognised, and it might 
lead to a perceptual belief that his body is now present 
to our senses. The result would be to produce an ex- 
traspective situation which is delusive on its perceptual 
side. If the reader will do what most philosophers are 
too proud and most scientists too prejudiced to do, and 
will study the evidence for "telepathy " in Phantasms of 
the Living, and the evidence which has accumulated 
since 1886 as marshalled by Mrs Sidgwick in the 
S.P.R. Proceediftgs for October 1922, he will see that a 
large proportion of the cases are of the kind just sug- 
gested. There is little evidence for pure telegnosis ; ) 
but there is a great deal of excellent evidence for the 
existence of extraspective situations which are delusive , 
on their perceptual side and veridical on their telegnostic \ 
side. By this I mean that the mental event which 



330 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

the experient claims to be apprehending really has 
happened at much the same time in a mind whose body 
is far away ; but that the apprehension of this event has 
generally been accompanied by and bound up with an 
hallucinatory perceptual experience in which this body 
seems to be present to the experient. 

On the other alternative which we have to consider 
the extraspective situation never contains a foreign 
mental state as part of its objective constituent; i.e.^ it 
never involves a telegnostic situation. We must 
suppose that the innate constitution of human beings 
(and probably of other gregarious animals) is such that, 
when one sees any body which in fact resembles his own 
closely enough, he instinctively believes it to be 
animated by a mind like his own. And we must 
suppose that, whenever one sees in another a facial 
expression or hears a noise which in fact resembles 
closely enough the facial expression or noise which in 
him is the natural expression of a certain kind of 
experience, he instinctively ascribes a similar experience 
to the mind which he believes to animate the body of 
the other. If there be other creatures like ourselves, 
and if we be largely dependent on them, we could not 
have survived unless we either had instinctive beliefs of 
this kind, which are in the main true, or had telegnostic 
knowledge of some of their mental states. 

The next question is whether we can decide between 
these two alternatives. In the first place, we might 
accept the positive part of the second alternative, and 
deny or doubt the negative part. We might admit 
that there are such instinctive beliefs as the second 
theory assumes, and that there is also in certain cases 
genuine telegnosis. And it might be that those 
particular perceptual situations which call forth the 
instinctive beliefs are also those which are most favour- 
able to the occurrence of a telegnostic situation. I 
think we may say at once that an analysis of extra- 
spective situations which accepted telegnosis and denied 



MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER MINDS 331 

the existence of these instinctive beliefs would be far less 
plausible than one which denied telegnosis and accepted 
the existence of these instinctive beliefs. For it is by- 
no means certain that such instinctive beliefs, eked out 
by subsequent inference and association interpreted in 
terms of these beliefs, would not suffice to account for 
all the known facts about extraspection. After all, such 
a theory would leave our extraspective beliefs in foreign 
minds and mental events in no worse position than our 
perceptual beliefs in external physical events and things, 
if my analysis of sense-perception be admitted. In fact 
it would be in a slightly stronger position. For I have 
argued that we probably do have direct inspective 
knowledge of some mental events, whilst we probably 
do not have this kind of knowledge of a7iy physical 
events. Thus we do not need any special postulate or 
category to provide us with the notion of a mental event, 
or to assure us that there are instances of such things ; 
whilst, if I am right, we probably do need something of 
the kind in the case of physical events and things. 

If then we had nothing but ordinary extraspective 
situations to consider, I should be inclined to say that 
the assumption of a telegnostic factor is unnecessary 
and ungrounded, though it might still be true. But 
the actual position is somewhat different. From the 
study of abnormal phenomena it seems to me to be 
practically certain that there is such a mental power as 
telegnosis. It is therefore not a groundless assumption 
that it may be operative in some normal extraspective 
situations. And it is evident that, if it were present 
there mixed up with a perceptual situation and with 
instinctive beliefs about foreign mental events, it would 
be almost impossible to detect it. It therefore seems 
to me quite likely that there may be a telegnostic factor 
in many normal extraspective situations, i.e.^ that their 
objective constituents may include foreign mental events. 
I do not see that I can prove this, or that anyone else 
can disprove it ; -I merely say that I think there is a 



i 



332 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

faint balance of probability in its favour in view of all 
the known facts. 

Conventional Expression. A complete treatment of 
this subject would occupy volumes, and would be far 
beyond the powers of the present writer. I will there- 
fore confine myself to a few remarks which seem 
specially relevant to our present purpose. 

As I have said, all intelligible sentences are natural 
expressions, on the occasion of which we believe that 
we are in presence of a foreign mind which is owning 
a process of thinking, judging, and so on. The vast 
majority of intelligible sentences are not about the 
mental states of the person who utters them, and are 
therefore not conventional expressions of his state of 
mind. A sentence is a conventional expression of a 
state of mind only in so far as it asserts that the person 
who utters it is having this state. Even those sentences 
which do conventionally express a state of mind are 
very likely to be misleading. A man who says that he 
is having a certain emotion or volition may be inten- 
tionally trying to deceive us ; or he may have intro- 
spected inaccurately, and be honestly mistaken ; or he 
may be unable to find words. which adequately express 
the results of a perfectly correct process of introspection ; 
or we may be stupid and misunderstand the words 
which he uses. For all these reasons it is rash to believe 
that a certain man is having a certain experience at a 
certain time merely because he says that he is doing so. 
A prudent person checks such statements by noting the 
natural expressions of the speaker at the time and his 
subsequent actions and statements. 

In fact, for our present purpose, the natural and 
unintentional expression, which belongs to all intel- 
ligible sentences as such, is far more important than 
the conventional and deliberate expression, which 
belongs to a small minority of them. The hearing or 
reading of intelligent and intelligible discourse (whether 
we accept or reject what it asserts) is the occasion par 



MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER MINDS 333 

excellence on which we feel perfectly certain of the 
presence of a foreign mind 3iS distinct from the presence 
of mere me?ital events. To avoid an obvious criticism I 
must here make one important qualification. I say that 
intelligible discourse is the natural sign of the presence 
of a mind and of the presence of " thought ", in a wide 
sense. But I am quite well aware that a great deal of 
intelligible and intelligent speaking and writing is 
accompanied by very little thought about its ostensible 
subject-matter. It would not be unfair to say that, 
while we are speaking and writing most, we are 
thinking least ; and that, while we are thinking most, 
we are speaking and writing least. Anyone who 
prepares lectures knows that he was thinking about 
the subject, and not speaking, during his preparation ; 
whilst he can largely let his mind "go on holiday" (to 
use an excellent phrase of Descartes) during the actual 
delivery of the lecture. We must not therefore say that 
the utterance of an intelligible discourse is a sign that 
the mind is now thinking about what the body is talking 
about. But we do feel perfectly sure that an intelli- 
gible discourse can be uttered only by a body which is 
animated by a mind that has thought and is capable of 
thinking again. Even here we must make a further 
qualification. There are many intelligible sentences, 
uttered in ordinary conversation, which are neither the 
expression of a present thought about their subject- 
matter nor the result of past thought about this subject- 
matter in the mind of the person who utters them. Many 
"expressions" of political and religious "opinion", 
which occur in the conversation of quite intelligent men, 
are of this nature. Nevertheless, these sentences would 
not have been spoken if someone else at some time in 
the past had not exercised his mind on these subjects. 

This brings us to a point where, as it seems to me, 
both Behaviourists and Bergsonians have gone wrong 
through failure to recognise an important distinction. 
Seeing how much of our alleged "thinking" is just 



334 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

the automatic reeling off of sentences or the mechanical 
manipulation of symbols, Behaviourists have tended 
to hold that all "thinking" reduces without residue to 
this. And Bergsonians have tended to contrast the 
merely mechanical processes of the "intellect" with 
a mysterious and superior faculty of " intuition ", which 
is apparently supposed to be manifested in its purest 
form in the instinctive behaviour of animals. Now it 
seems to me that we must distinguish b etween what I 
call " fluid " and "crystallised" thinking. We must 
recognise that, whilst the greater part~or any so-called 
process of "thinking" is of the latter kind, it must 
also contain short spells of the former. And we must 
recognise that the latter presupposes the previous oc- 
currence of the former in the same mind or in some 
other mind. Anyone who considers what happens 
when he solves some problem for himself will recognise 
the difference. He would commonly be said to be 
" thinking " about the problem during the whole course 
of his work. Now, during the greater part of this 
period, he is certainly only manipulating symbols 
almost mechanically according to rules. But (i) at 
the beginning of the work, and at isolated intervals 
during the course of it, he must cease to do this and 
must contemplate face to face the actual abstract objects 
with which he is concerned and their actual relations 
to each other. When he does this he is performing 
acts of " fluid" thinking; and no facility in manipula- 
ting symbols is any substitute for this. The power to 
perform acts of fluid thinking constitutes that difference 
between a man and a well-trained parrot which the 
Behaviourists (doubtless from excess of modesty) are so 
loath to admit, (ii) I can now manipulate symbols 
blindly according to rules, and can feel confident that 
the result will accord with the real relations of things, 
only because I or my predecessors directly contemplated 
the things and their relations and made up a symbolism 
whose rules of operation were seen to accord with the 



MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER MINDS 335 

relations of the things symbolised. Thus the symbolism 
is just the "crystallisation" of the past fluid thinking 
of myself or others ; and, if it were not, there would not 
be the faintest reason to treat these operations with 
symbols according to rules as anything more than 
solemn trifling. It is simply unintelligible to me how 
this fact can escape the notice of any competent person, 
or why the tacit denial of it should be supposed to mark 
a wonderful advance in psychology. 

The position of the Bergsonians is less silly than that 
of the Behaviourists ; for the former do at least recognise 
that mere crystallised thinking will not account for the 
facts. But why they should identify intellectual pro- 
cesses with that mechanical manipulation of words and 
symbols which I call " crystallised thinking", I cannot 
imagine. And I am equally at a loss to understand 
why they should suppose that the missing factor, which 
I call *• fluid thinking", is specially manifested in in- 
stinctive actions. For these seem to be extremely like 
that mechanical reeling off of sentences which is sup- 
posed by them to be the special province of intellect, as 
opposed to intuition. 

To sum up. When we hear intelligible and intelli- ) 
gent discourse uttered we cannot help believing, either 
{a) that we are in the presence of a foreign mind which is 
thinking about the subject-matter of the discourse now, 
or has done so in the past ; or {b) that at any rate there 
has been a foreign mind which did think about this 
subject-matter and is an essential condition of the 
possibility of the present utterance. Which of these 
alternative beliefs we arrive at depends on the special 
circumstances in which the words are uttered. 

The Logical Status of the Belief in Other Minds. So 
far I have confined myself to a purely descriptive dis- 
cussion of extraspective situations. I have tried to 
show that they certainly do not involve inference ; that 
our extraspective beliefs cannot be explained by direct 



336 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

associations which have arisen in the course of our 
lives; that they almost certainly depend on an innate 
/\ I and instinctive meaning which attaches from the first 
I to certain perceived objects and events ; and that it is 
not unlikely that some at least of them actually contain 
foreign mental events as part of their objective con- 
stituents. The purely logical question that remains 
j! is: ''Granted that such beliefs are not in fact reached 
^ by inference, can they be supported by inference?" 

The Logical Connexion between Belief in Matter and 
Belief in Other Minds. I shall begin by considering a 
question which seems to be of very great interest and 
to have failed to receive the attention which it deserves. 
This is: "What logical connexion, if any, is there 
«* between the belief in Matter and the belief in other 
Minds?" This question first forced itself on my at- 
tention when reading the philosophy of Berkeley. It 
will be remembered that Berkeley denies the existence 
of matter, but is perfectly certain of the existence of 
himself and of God. He says very little about the 
existence of other finite spirits ; but I think it is certain 
that he felt no doubt about the existence of other human 
minds. Now one can see that a Berkeleian has a right 
to be certain of the existence either of God or of other 
finite spirits. For he has certain sensations which are 
not due to his own volitions, and he holds that the 
only possible cause of anything is a volition of some 
mind. Hence he has a right to be sure of the existence 
of some mind other than his own, which has volitions, 
i What seems more doubtful is whether he has a right to 
' believe both in the existence of God and in that of other 
finite spirits. And this raises the general question 
whether a person who doubted or denied the existence 
of matter would have as good right to believe in the 
existence of other finite spirits as a person who accepted 
the existence of matter and hejd that we are in cognitive 
contact with it in perception. Corresponding to this 
would be the question whether a person who doubted 



MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER MINDS 337 

the existence of other finite spirits would have as good 
a right to believe in the existence of matter as one who 
believed that there are other finite spirits and that we 
are in cognitive contact with them in extraspective 
situations. The second question is the easier of the 
two, and I will dismiss it before dealing with the first. 

If a man doubted or denied the existence of other 
spirits, it seems plain that he would be deprived of 
some of the grounds which ordinary men have for 
believing in matter. One ground which might be 
alleged for the view that my table is not a mere bundle 
of sensa, existentially dependent on myself, is that other 
people tell me that, when they are in my room and I 
am out of it, they are subject to perceptual situations 
with a very similar objective constituent to that of my 
perceptual situation when I am in the room. Another 
ground which might be alleged for believing in the 
independent existence of matter is that other people tell 
me that they know by bodily feeling that their bodies 
continue to exist when I cease to perceive them. Now 
suppose that I doubted or denied the existence of other 
minds. I should of course still hear and understand 
these utterances which apparently come out of the 
mouths of other human bodies. But, in so far as they 
asserted that a mind which animates these bodies has 
perceived or is perceiving something, I should have to 
doubt or deny the statement. If my gramophone said 
to me : '* I saw your table all the time you were out 
of the room," I should not hold that this added any 
weight to the belief that my table existed in my absence 
except in so far as I believed that another human being 
who had been in the room had recorded this observation. 
Now, on the hypothesis under consideration, all state- 
ments uttered apparently by other human bodies will be 
in the position of statements uttered by gramophones, 
with the important difference that the "records" will 
not have been made by bodies which are animated by 
minds. And there would be no reason to attach any 



338 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

weight to these utterances. Of course the belief in 
matter is not reached by inference. It is, therefore, 
psychologically possible that a man might cease to 
believe in the existence of other minds and yet continue 
to believe just as strongly as before in the existence of 
matter. But, if he tried to defend his belief to himself 
^^ by arguments, he would certainly be in a weaker 

T*'^^ "X position than a man who believed jnthe existence of 
''■( ' other human minds. 

We now come to the other and harder question : 
''Would a man who doubted .or disbelieved the 
existence of matter have as good a right to believe in 
the existence of other minds as one who accepted the 
existence of matter and believed that he was in cognitive 
contact with it in perception?" In order to answer this 
question let us consider the sensa that we sense and the 
feelings that we feel, without regard to the question 
whether they are really appearances of our own and of 
other bodies. We can start by dividing them up into 
two great groups ; viz. (A) those which we naturally 
\ regard as appearances of our own body ; and (B) those 
/ which we naturally regard as appearances of foreign 
' bodies. The group (B) divides into two sub-groups ; 
viz. [a) those which v/e naturally regard as appearances 
of other human bodies, and {b) those which we naturally 
regard as appearances of non-human bodies. We will 
consider first the resemblances and differences between 
the contents of these groups. 

Group (A) consists mainly of bodily feelings ; but it 
also contains certain characteristic visual, tactual, and 
auditory sensa. For I can " see " and "touch" parts 
of " my own body ", and can " hear" " my own voice ". 
Group (B) contains no bodily feelings in either of its 
sub-groups ; but consists wholly of visual, tactual, and 
auditory sensa. The contents of sub-group {a') resemble 
that part of the contents of (A) which does not consist of 
bodily feelings. But it is much richer in content than 
the corresponding part of group (A) ; for 1 can "see" 



MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER MINDS 339 

and "feel" much more of "other human bodies" than 
of " my own ". The contents of sub-group {b) bear no 
special resemblance in detail to those of sub-group 
{a) or of group (A) ; for "human bodies" have a char- 
acteristic appearance, and "human voices" have a 
characteristic sound. 

Let us next consider the relations of my will to these 
various groups of sensa which I sense and of feelings 
which I feel. The great mass of feelings in group (A) 
is quite independent of my will. But, when I "will to 
move my body ", I initiate certain changes in this mass of 
bodily feeling (viz., certain muscle- and joint-sensations, 
etc.). These changes are followed as a rule by certain 
characteristic changes in the visual, tactual, or auditory 
sensa of group (A); e.g.^ I may "hear myself speak- 
ing", " see my arm moving", and so on. These may 
be followed by characteristic changes in the sensa of 
group (B) ; e.g., I may "see a chair being moved by 
my hand" or may "see myself kicking another human 
body, and hear it cry out". The only way in which I 
can voluntarily affect the sensa in group (A) or in group 
(B) is by first initiating certain characteristic changes 
in the bodily feelings of group (A). 

These are the facts which are available for an 
argument by analogy when we confine ourselves strictly 
to what we can discover by inspection and introspection. 
The question which we have now to ask is whether the 
argument would be weaker or stronger according to 
whether we do or do not believe that these feelings and 
sensa are appearances of material things. The only 
way to test this is to consider in detail how the argument 
would run on each alternative assumption. I will begin 
by considering the argument on the common -sense 
assumption that these sensa and feelings are appearances 
of material things. 

The Argument for other Minds on the Assumption of 
Matter. On this view the sensa of group (A) will be 
appearances to me of that material thing which is my 



340 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

own body ; those of sub-group (a) of group (B) will be 
appearances to me of that material object which is 
another human body. Now, on this supposition, the 
effect of my volitions is not directly to modify the 
feelings which I feel or the sensa which I sense. The 
direct result of my volitions is to produce internal 
changes in my body ; and the changes which I observe 
in the feelings of group (A) are collateral results of these 
internal bodily changes. The physical consequence of 
these internal bodily changes is certain overt bodily 
movements of my limbs, tongue, etc. And the changes 
which I observe in the sensa of group (A) are merely 
collateral results of these overt bodily movements. 
Finally, the physical consequence of these overt bodily 
movements is, or may be, certain changes in external 
physical things ; and the changes which I observe in 
the sensa of group (B) are merely collateral results of 
these external physical changes. 

On this view, another mind like mine would be one 
which animates a body like mine ; which can directly 
produce changes within this body by willing ; and can 
thus indirectly produce overt movements in its own 
body and changes in external bodies. If the other 
mind is like mine, its body appears to it as a group (A') 
of feelings which it feels and of certain characteristic 
sensa which it senses ; and other bodies appear to it as 
a group (B') of sensa which it senses. This group (B') 
will divide into a sub-group {a) which is the appear- 
ance to it of other human bodies, and a sub-group {d') 
which is the appearance to it of external non-human 
bodies. 

On the present assumption, the argument by analogy 
for the existence of other human minds would run some- 
what as follows. The resemblance of the sensa of 
sub-group (a) to the sensa of group (A), which are 
appearances to me of the outside of my own body, 
suggests that the sensa of sub-group (a) are appearances 
of an external body which outwardly resembles mine. 



MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER MINDS 341 

Since it outwardly resembles mine, it is likely that it 
also resembles mine inwardly. Now the changes which 
I observe from time to time in the sensa of sub-group 
(a) resemble those which I observe from time to time in 
the sensa of group (A). The latter are appearances to 
me of overt movements of my own body, and the former 
are appearances to me of overt movements of an external 
body which outwardly resembles mine. So this ex- 
ternal body resembles mine, not only in its outward 
form, but also in its overt movements. It is, therefore, 
likely that the internal changes which determine the 
overt movements of this external body resemble the 
internal changes which determine the overt movements 
of my own body. Now these internal changes in my 
own body are determined by my volitions, and appear 
to me as changes in the bodily feelings which I feel. 
It is, therefore, likely that the similar internal changes, 
which I assume on grounds of analogy to be taking 
place in the foreign body, are due to volitions. Now 
they are certainly not determined by any volition which 
I can introspect ; and they are often contrary to volitions 
of mine which I can introspect. Hence it is probable 
that they are determined by volitions which do not 
belong to my mind. Now the order and connexion 
which I find among the changes of sensa in sub-group 
{a) resembles the order and connexion which I find 
among the sensa in group (A). So probably the overt 
movements of the external body have a similar order 
and connexion to that of the overt movements of my 
own body. But I know that this order and connexion 
in my own case is due to the fact that the successive 
volitions which determine the movements are not isolated 
mental events but are states of a more or less coherent 
and rational mind. I therefore infer that the postulated 
volitions are probably not merely isolated mental events, 
but belong to some mind other than my own, which is 
connected with the foreign body as mine is connected 
with my body. Now I know that my body appears to 



342 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

me through a mass of feelings which I feel and of sensa 
which I sense ; I know that other bodies appear to me 
through sensa which I sense ; and I know that, when I 
voluntarily produce internal changes in my body, these 
appear to me as changes in my bodily feelings. As I 
have postulated a mind with volitions like mine, con- 
nected with a body like mine in the same way in which 
my mind is connected with my body, I argue by analogy 
that probably this other body appears to this other 
mind by feelings which it feels and certain sensa which 
it senses ; that probably other bodies appear to it 
through sensa which it senses ; and that probably, 
when it produces internal changes voluntarily in its 
own body, these changes appear to it as changes in its 
bodily feelings. 

It is evident that such an argument as I have been 
/ describing has some weight, if we grant the fundamental 
\ assumption that it makes about the connexion of sensa 
with material objects. And it is evident that this 
assumption forms an integral part of the basis of the 
argument. I argue to the existence of another mind 
like mine by way of the existence of another body which 
looks like mine and moves like it. And I believe in 
the existence of this other body because I believe that 
the sensa of my (rt:)-sub-group are appearances of it, 
whilst the similar sensa of my (A)-group are appear- 
ances of my own body. The next question is whether 
I could legitimately argue to the existence of another 
mind like mine from the same facts without the 
assumption that the sensa which I sense and the feel- 
ings which I feel are appearances of material objects. 

The Argument for Other Minds without the Assumption 
of the Existence of Matter. It is plain that, on the 
present alternative, the argument, if it be possible at 
all, must be very different in detail. We can no longer 
say that the immediate effect of my volition is to pro- 
duce internal changes in my body, and that the changes 
in the feelings of group (A) are merely collateral effects 



MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER MINDS 343 

of these internal bodily changes. We shall have to 
suppose that the iniviediate effect of my volitions is 
simply to produce changes in the feelings of group (A). 
Again, we can no longer say that the internal bodily 
changes produce directly overt bodily movements, and 
that the changes in the sensa of group (A) are simply 
collateral effects of these overt bodily movements. 
Instead we shall have to suppose that the voluntarily 
initiated changes in the feelings of group (A) directly 
produce changes in the sensa of group (A). Finally, 
we can no longer suppose that the overt bodily move- 
ments cause changes in external physical objects, and 
that the changes in the sensa of group (B) are merely 
collateral results of these external physical changes. 
We shall have to suppose that the changes in the sensa 
of group (A) in certain cases directly produce changes 
in the sensa of group (B). 

On this view another mind like mine would not be 
one which animates another body like mine. And it 
would not manifest itself to my mind by first directly 
affecting its own body and then indirectly affecting 
mine. For neither of us will have bodies. Another 
mind like mine will simply be one that feels a certain 
set of feelings and senses certain characteristic sensa, 
which together constitute an (A')-group. It will more- 
over sense another group of sensa (B'), and this will 
divide into sub-sets («') and {b'). And it will be able 
directly to affect by its will some of the feelings in its 
(A')-group, and thence indirectly some of the sensa in 
its (A')-group, and thence at the second remove some of 
the sensa in its (B')-group. But none of these feelings 
and sensa will be the appearances to it of material 
objects. Can any argument from analogy be founded 
on such a basis ? 

So far as I can see it could only take the following 
form. The sensa of the (<7)-sub-group of my (B)-group 
resemble the sensa of my (A)-group. And certain 
changfes which I observe in the former resemble certain 



344 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

changes which I observe in the latter. Now these 
changes in the sensa of my (A)-group are immediately 
caused by changes in the feelings of my (A)-group. 
And these in turn are initiated by my volitions. The 
(rt)-sub-group contains no feelings which I feel, and its 
changes are not correlated with any volition that I can 
introspect. Indeed they are often contrary to volitions 
which I can introspect. Now I might argue from the 
similarity of the («)-sensa and their changes to the 
(A)-sensa and their changes that there is probably a set 
of feelings which I do not feel, which are related to the 
(rt)-sensa as I know the (A)-feelings to be related to the 
(A)-sensa. That is, I might argue that probably the 
(«)-sub-group is really part of a foreign (A')-group as 
well as being a part of my (B)-group. And I might 
argue that probably there are volitions that I cannot 
introspect, and that sometimes conflict with those which 
I can introspect, which directly produce changes in 
these hypothetical feelings and thus indirectly produce 
the changes which I from time to time observe in the 
sensa of my ((7)-sub-group. Having reached this point, 
I might carry the analogy further. I sense and feel the 
contents of the (A)-group, and I own the volitions 
which directly affect the feelings, and thus indirectly 
affect the sensa, of this group. It is therefore probable 
that there is another mind which senses and feels the 
contents of this hypothetical (A')-group of which my 
(^)-sub-group is a part ; and that this other mind owns 
the supposed volitions which directly affect the hypo- 
thetical feelings of this (A')-group and thus indirectly 
affect the sensa of this group. The analogy might then 
be concluded as follows. My mind senses a (B)-group 
beside sensing and feeling an (A)-group. And this 
(B)-group splits into an (a)- and a (/?)-sub-group. It is 
therefore probable that the supposed foreign mind 
senses a (B')-group beside sensing and feeling an (A')- 
group, and that this (B')-group splits into an (a')- and 
a ((5'')-sub-group. 



MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER MINDS 345 

I do not know whether this argument from analogy 
will appear convincing to the reader. At any rate it 
seems to me to be the only one that could be used on 
the present supposition. It of course leads to a very 
different view of the interconnexion of minds from that 
which is held by common-sense. But this is natural 
enough, since common-sense believes that sensa and 
bodily feelings are appearances of material objects, 
whilst we have been explicitly rejecting this assumption 
in the present subsection. On the present supposition 
the group of sensa which I naturally take to be appear- 
ances to me of your body and the group of sensa which 
you naturally take to be appearances to you of your 
body partially overlap, so that some of them are sensed 
by both of us. You voluntarily produce certain changes 
in your feelings, which in turn produce certain charac- 
teristic changres in these common sensa. I notice these 
changes ; remark their likeness to certain changes which 
I voluntarily produce in those sensa which I naturally 
take to be the appearance to me of my own body ; find 
that they are not connected with changes in my feelings 
which I have voluntarily initiated, and that they often 
conflict with my volitions ; and so I conclude that they 
are probably due to a foreign mind, which produces 
them by first voluntarily affecting certain bodily feelings 
which it feels and I do not. 

It will be noticed that this argument from analogy 
presupposes that certain sensa which are sensed by me 
are also capable of being sensed by another mind. Is 
this essential to the argument on the present supposi- 
tion? I think that it is. So long as I confine myself 
to sensa and feelings, and make no assumption about 
their being appearances of material objects, the only 
sensa which I know that / can affect voluntarily are 
sensa that / sense. That is, the only voluntary action 
on sensa with which I am acquainted will be iuiuianent 
voluntary action. If I were to postulate another mind, 
which can voluntarily aff"ect sensa which / sense and 



346 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

it does not, I should be postulating a mode of action 
for which I have no positive ground of analogy. For 
this would be transeunt voluntary action. I cannot be 
sure that the property of "being sensed by M " is not 
a necessary condition of the property of " being affected 
by M's volitions". It is of course perfectly possible 
that this is not so ; it is perfectly possible that I do 
indirectly affect by my volitions sensa which I do not 
sense. I do not know that I cannot do this. But we 
cannot take a bare possibility as a ground for an argu- 
ment from analogy. We must argue from what we 
know to be true, not from what we do not know to be 
false. Thus, although it is perfectly possible that there 
might be a plurality of minds, and that one might 
communicate with another by voluntarily affecting sensa 
which are sensed by the latter and not by the former, 
yet this would remain a bare possibility. I should have 
no positive ground of analogy for believing anything 
of the kind, if my only starting point is that / can 
voluntarily affect some of the sensa which / sense. 

Now it has been held by most philosophers that all 
sensa are essentially private, i.e., that if a sensum s be 
sensed by a mind M it cannot be sensed by any other 
mind. I now claim to have proved that, if we hold 
that sensa are private and also deny that they are 
appearances of material objects, it is impossible to 
produce a valid argument from analogy to the existence 
of other minds. If, however, we keep either of these 
assumptions and reject the other, it is possible to pro- 
duce a valid argument for the existence of other minds 
from analogy. A fortiori^ if we reject both of these 
assumptions, it is possible. The advantage for the 
present purpose of a belief in matter is this. If we 
believe that sensa are appearances of material objects; 
then, even if sensa themselves be essentially private, 
they are signs of the existence of something which is 
not private. The voluntary action which we observe 
in our own case is now transeunt from the beginning, 



MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER MINDS 347 

for it immediately affects our bodies (which are public 
objects) and not the sensa which we sense (which may 
be private objects). So the arguments for the existence 
of other minds really are strengthened by the belief 
that sensa are appearances of material objects. For the 
analogy is valid, on this view, whether sensa be private 
or not ; whilst, on the opposite view, it is valid only if 
some sensa at least be public. 

A final question remains to be raised. It might be 
said that it is sufficient for the present purpose that 
sensa should be assumed to be appearances of something 
public and neutral ; it is not necessary that this some- 
thing should be matter. This is of course perfectly true, 
so far as it goes. But, if we assume that sensa are 
appearances of something public and neutral, and that 
this something is not matter, what can it be? The 
only other plausible alternative is that the sensa which 
I sense are directly appearances of minds. Now, if we 
start with this assumption there is no need to use an 
argument from analogy to prove the existence of other 
minds. All sensa will be known from the outset to be 
appearances of some mind, and we shall merely have 
to seek for reasons for believing that some of the sensa 
which we sense are not appearances of our own minds. 
How we should set about doing this I do not know ; 
but I do not see that any argument from analogy would 
be either necessary or useful. 

Summary of Conclusions. Our belief in the existence 
of other minds is not reached by inference ; and our 
belief in the existence of material objects is not reached 
by inference. Nevertheless, each of these beliefs can 
be rendered probable by certain inverse or analogical 
arguments, provided we admit that they have a finite 
antecedent probability. But the two beliefs are not 
logically independent of each other. For some, at any 
rate, of the arguments which support the belief in 
matter depend on our accepting the statements of other 
people about their perceptions ; and the acceptance of 



348 MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF EXISTENTS 

such statements presupposes our belief in other minds. 
Again, arguments by analogy to support our belief in 
other minds presuppose either (a) that the feelings 
which we feel and the sensa which we sense are appear- 
ances to us of material objects, or (d) that some sensa 
are capable of being sensed by more than one mind. 
Since the second condition is doubtful, whilst the first 
is sufficient even if the second be false, it follows that 
arguments by analogy in support of our belief in other 
minds are stronger if we believe that sensa are appear- 
ances of matter than if we do not. 

Do we "perceive" Other Minds? I will end this 
chapter by trying to clear up a question which seems to 
me to be largely verbal. Some people are concerned 
to maintain that we "perceive" other minds; some 
people are concerned to deny it. And much heat is 
often engendered by this controversy. What we have 
to notice is that the question has three possible mean- 
ings. There are two senses of it in which the answer 
is certainly affirmative, and a third sense in which it is 
a fair matter of controversy, (i) If the question means : 
" Are there situations in which we believe in the present 
existence of certain mental states which do not belong 
to ourselves, and ascribe them to other minds without 
any process of inference?" the answer is "Yes". (2) 
If the question means : " Do the objective constituents 
of such situations have certain peculiar characteristics 
which distinguish them from the objective constituents 
of other situations?" the answer is again " Yes ". For 
the sensa which are contained in the objective con- 
stituent of an extraspective situation always have those 
peculiar characteristics which lead us to take them 
as appearances of a human body or a human voice. 
And they change and succeed each other in perfectly 
characteristic ways. If (i) and (2) be all that is meant 
by the question : " Do we perceive other minds?" the 
answer is that we certainly do perceive them. But 



MIND'S KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER MINDS 349 

(3) the question may mean: "Do extraspective situa- 
tions contain a peculiar kind of objective constituent, 
which is not contained in other situations ? " In that case 
the answer is doubtful. As I have said, I think that it 
is slightly more probable than not that some extra- 
spective situations involve telegnostic situations, and 
therefore contain in their objective constituent the 
foreign mental event which we are said to be extra- 
specting. If this were certain, it would be certain that 
we "perceive" other mental events and other minds, 
even in this third sense. But it is not certain ; and, 
therefore, if "perception" be taken in this very rigid 
sense, I can only say that it seems to me slightly more 
likely than not that we sometimes "perceive" other 
minds. 



(r^ 



'M^ 



^ 



SECTION C 

Introductory Remarks 

Satyr and Faun their late repose 

Now burst like anything ; 

Fresh Maenads, turning sprightlier toes. 

Enjoy a jauntier fling ; 

With lustier lips old Pan shall play 

Drainpipes along the sewer's way. 

Priapus, long since left for dead, 

Is dead no more than Pan ; 

Silenus rises from his bed 

And hiccoughs like a man. 

(There's something rather chaste, between us. 

About Priapus and Silenus.)" 

(Owen Seaman, The Battle of the Bays) 



SECTION C 

The Unconscious 

Introductory Remarks 

It is admitted by almost every one that the contents of a 
mind are not all open to introspection, and that the 
occurrence of those mental events which we can in- 
trospect cannot be completely accounted for in terms 
of other mental events which we can introspect or 
remember. In admitting this people are admitting 
facts to which the general name of " The Unconscious " 
is applied. 

But here agreement ceases. People quarrel violently 
about the general nature of "The Unconscious", and 
about the reality of particular "unconscious" events 
which are alleged to happen. It is certain that much of 
this controversy is due to the scandalous ambiguity 
with which the term "unconscious" is used. I think 
it is not unfair to say that " the Unconscious " has been 
the occasion for a greater flood of more abject nonsense 
than any other psychological concept, with the possible 
exception of " Instinct". 

In this section I shall first try to distinguish the 
various senses in which people have used the terms 
"unconscious mental states" and "The Unconscious". 
I shall show that, in most of these senses, an "un- 
conscious mental state " is either not unconscious or not 
mental ; and I shall try to define a literal meaning of 
the phrase "unconscious mental states". I shall then 
consider the arguments which have been alleged to 
prove the existence of " unconscious . mental states". 
This will lead up to a discussion of the nature of 
"traces" and "dispositions", which will bring this 
Section to an end. 

853 2 



CHAPTER VIII 

Various Meanings of the Term "Unconscious" 

I WILL first clear out of the way two not very important 
senses in which we use the words "conscious" and 
"unconscious", (i) In the first place, we often apply 
them to distinguish one kind of persistent substance 
from another kind. We call a stone an unconscious 
being, and a man or a dog or an oyster a conscious 
being. By calling a stone an unconscious being I 
mean that it is incapable of being aware of anything. 
By calling a man a conscious being I mean that he is 
capable of being aware of something, even if it should 
happen that at the present moment he is not aware 
of anything. So "conscious" and "unconscious", in 
this sense, mean " capable (or incapable) of being aware 
of something at some time ". I think it would be wise 
to substitute the words "animate" and "inanimate" 
for the words "conscious" and "unconscious" when 
the latter are used in this meaning and with this 
application. 

(2) We must next notice that the words " conscious" 
and "unconscious" are often used to distinguish two 
possible conditions in which an animate being may be 
at different times. A being which is conscious, in the 
sense of animate, may from time to time be unconscious 
in the present sense. A man awake and a man in a 
deep sleep are both "conscious beings", in the sense 
of animate beings. But we should say that the former 
is now " in a conscious condition " and that the latter 
is now "in an unconscious condition ". 

"Conscious" and "unconscious" in this sense, apply 

354 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 355 

to the temporary conditions of animate beings and to 
nothing else. We might be tempted to say that an 
animate being is in a conscious condition provided that 
it is actually aware of something, and that it is in an 
unconscious condition provided that it is not actually 
aware of anything. A little reflection will show that 
this definition would not be satisfactory as it stands. 
Many people hold that there is something which is 
called " unconscious awareness ", and that an animate 
being can be " unconsciously aware" of certain things. 
Now they would count a man as being in an un- 
conscious condition, even though he were aware of 
many things, if his awareness of all these things was 
"unconscious awareness". To meet the possibility of 
*' unconscious awareness " we must say that an animate 
being is in a conscious condition when it is ^^consciously 
aware " of something ; and that it is in an unconscious 
condition when it is either not aware of anything, or, 
if aware of something, only ^^ tmconsciousiy aware" of it. 
The amended definitions are now verbally circular. 
They are not really circular, because a new sense of 
" conscious " and "unconscious" has turned up. We 
are in fact defining "conscious" and "unconscious", 
as applied to the temporary condition of animate beings, 
in terms of "conscious " and " unconscious ", as applied 
to the process of awareness. But, although the de- 
finitions are thus non-circular, they do not tell us much 
until we know what is meant by "conscious" and 
"unconscious" as applied to mental events. This is 
the really important question to which we must now 
turn. 

"Conscious" and "Unconscious" as applied to 
Mental Events. When a man talks of "unconscious 
mental events" or " unconscious experiences" he gener- 
ally assumes that everyone understands what is denoted 
by the phrase "conscious mental events or experiences". 
I do not of course mean that he assumes that every one 



356 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

would agree about the right definition or analysis of 
either the adjective ''conscious" or the substantive 
"mental event" or "experience". We all know that 
people differ violently on these subjects. What I do 
mean is that we assume at the outset that it is easy to 
give examples to which every one admits that the name 
" conscious mental events "or " conscious experiences " 
can be appropriately and quite literally applied. To 
feel a toothache which is so acute as to make one 
seriously contemplate going to the dentist is an event 
which every one would agree could be literally called 
"an experience" and could be literally called "con- 
scious". Although there are border-line cases which 
some people would call "conscious experiences" and 
other people would refuse to call by that name, there 
seems little doubt that there are thousands of events 
which every one would agree to deserve the name of 
"conscious experiences" in a perfectly literal sense. 

Now a literally unconscious experience would be one 
which differs in a certain respect from these literally 
conscious experiences and agrees with them in a certain 
other respect. But, as I have said, the phrase " un- 
conscious experience" is constantly used in a number 
of senses which are not literal but are highly figurative. 
By this I mean that a great many events, commonly 
called "unconscious experiences", are probably not 
experiences at all in the sense in which every one admits 
that the feeling of an acute pang of toothache is an 
experience. And I also mean that a great many events, 
commonly called "unconscious experiences", are cer- 
tainly conscious in precisely the sense in which it is 
admitted that feeling the acute pang of toothache is 
conscious. My ultimate object is t o try to d efine, or 
sufficiently describe, literally unconscious mental events. 
But, before doing this, I want to enumerate and dismiss 
the various non-literal senses in which the word " un- 
conscious " and the phrase " unconscious experiences " 
are used. At present the only criterion which we shall 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 357 

be able to employ when we are presented with an alleged 
case of an unconscious experience is the following : "Is 
there any reason to think that it resembles admittedly 
conscious experiences so far as to deserve the name of 
'experience'? And is there any reason to suppose 
that it differs from admittedly conscious experiences so 
far as not to deserve the name of ' conscious ' ? " 

(i) Traces and Dispositions. Far the commonest use 
of the phrase " unconscious states" in psychology is in 
reference to traces and dispositions. It is found that, 
in order to account for many everyday facts about our 
ordinary conscious experiences, it is necessary to refer 
to certain conscious experiences which we had in the 
remote past. Memory is the most obvious example of 
such a fact. I remember now something which I saw 
or heard last year and of which I have not consciously 
thought in the interval. And of course there are number- 
less other facts about our present experiences which can 
be explained only by reference to experiences which we 
had long ago. We may sum up this whole mass of 
facts under the name of " Mnemic Phenomena ", borrow- 
ing this phrase primarily from Mr Russell's Analysis 
of Mind and ultimately from Semon. Now, either we 
must assume a wholly new kind of causation, in which 
one part of the total cause is separated from the rest 
and from the effect by a considerable gap which contains 
no relevant events ; or we must fill in this temporal 
gap with some hypothetical persistent entity which we 
call "traces". I propose to discuss the alternative of 
"Mnemic Causation", suggested tentatively by Mr 
Russell, in a later chapter of this section. For the 
present we will assume the trace theory, as practically 
all psychologists have done. It is supposed that ex- 
periences leave these traces ; that the latter persist ; and 
that, when suitable stimuli excite them, they either give 
rise to new states of mind, such as memories, or else 
modify states of mind which are in the main due to 
other causes. 



358 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

Along with these traces we must include innate "dis- 
positions ". These are assumed in order to explain 
those differences between the experiences and the 
behaviour of individuals which cannot be accounted 
for by differences in their past experiences and present 
external circumstances. They differ from traces in 
their origin ; for they are supposed to be innate, whilst 
traces are due to experiences which happened to the 
individual during his present life. They also differ, 
in one respect at least, from traces in their conse- 
quences. Traces may lead, among other consequences, 
to memories of the experiences which left the traces. 
Dispositions cannot do this ; for, even if they be 
ultimately due to experiences, these experiences took 
place in the minds of our remote ancestors. Apart 
from these differences, traces and dispositions would 
seem to be very much alike ; and, as both are purely 
hypothetical and are known only by their effects, there 
seems to be no harm in lumping them together. 

Now it is common to call traces and dispositions 
"unconscious states". Many people go further and 
call them "unconscious menial states'' or even "un- 
conscious experiences". They are certainly not con- 
scious, in the sense in which feeling an acute pang of 
toothache is conscious. And they are no doubt states 
of something or other. But we have no right whatever 
to assume that they are "mental states" or "experi- 
ences", in the sense in which feeling this pang of 
toothache is a mental state or an experience. The 
fact is that we know nothing whatever about the 
intrinsic nature of traces and dispositions ; they are 
simply the hypothetical causes of certain observable 
effects, and the hypothetical effects of certain observable 
causes. True, these observable causes and effects are 
experiences ; but this is no ground for supposing that 
the traces themselves are of the nature of experiences. 
This is disguised by the silly metaphor that past 
experiences are "stored up in the unconscious". I 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 359 

may have had a certain conscious experience which 
lasted for five minutes and ceased twenty years ago. 
If we say that this is "stored up in the unconscious", 
and mean this statement to be taken literally, we must 
be understood to assert that this same experience has 
been going on steadily for the last twenty years. 
Perhaps the original experience was seeing a certain 
dog for five minutes twenty years ago ; if this experi- 
ence be literally ''stored up in the unconscious", I 
have been literally seeing the same dog in the same 
situation ever since, though ''unconsciously", in spite 
of the fact that the dog has been dead and buried for 
the last fifteen years. Of course it will be said that 
no one does mean to assert anything of this kind when 
he talks of experiences " persisting in the unconscious ". 
It is quite true that most people hasten to disclaim such 
preposterous consequences when once they are pointed 
out. But I think there is no doubt that many people 
do hold views which, if they could be induced to state 
them clearly, would be found to lead to these conse- 
quences. For instance, Rivers in his Instinct mid the 
Unconscious asserts that the content of the Unconscious 
is "suppressed experiences", and he gives as an 
example of such an experience a fright which one of 
his patients had had many years before with a dog in 
a passage. Of course, if anything literally persists, 
it is not the experience itself but the trace of the ex- 
perience. And there is no more positive reason to 
suppose that the trace of an experience resembles it 
or any other experience than to suppose that persistent 
deafness resembles the attack of scarlet-fever which 
left it in the patient. 

The plain fact is that we know nothing with certainty 
about the intrinsic nature of traces, and we ought there- 
fore studiously to avoid all phrases which suggest some 
particular view of their intrinsic nature. I propose to 
call traces and dispositions by the innocent name of 
" mnemic persistents". The reason for calling them 



36o THE UNCONSCIOUS 

" mnemic " is obvious. Our ordinary states of mind 
may be called "transients"; for they happen from 
time to time, last for a little while, and then cease. 
In contrast with these we can call traces and dispositions 
*' persistents " ; because they are supposed to last for a 
long time, and to fill the gaps between our transient 
states of mind. (I avoid Mr Johnson's terms " occur- 
rents" and "continuants", because they have certain 
implications which I do not at present wish to assert 
or deny of traces ; and it is a pity to spoil two valuable 
technical terms by using them loosely in senses which 
their inventor might not admit.) The phrase " mnemic 
persistents" has the twin advantage that it does express 
all that we know about traces and dispositions, and 
that it does not tacitly imply anything that we do. not 
know about them. 

(2) hiaccessible Experieitces. There is another import- 
ant non-literal sense in which the phrase "unconscious 
experiences " has been used. To explain it I will take 
an example from that excellent book Instinct and the 
Uncojiscious by the late Dr Rivers. 

Rivers quotes the case of a patient who had suffered 
from claustrophobia for many years. By analysing 
the patient's dreams Rivers was able to show that the 
claustrophobia had been started by a terrifying ex- 
perience which the man had had as a small boy in a 
narrow passage with a fierce dog. This experience the 
patient was quite unable to remember by normal means. 
Now Rivers gives this as a typical example of an un- 
conscious experience; and practically defines "The 
Unconscious", for his own purposes, as consisting of 
such experiences. It is clear that this is an entirely 
new meaning of the phrase "unconscious experience". 
When the experience originally happened it was in all 
probability an ordinary conscious experience owned by 
the patient. There is no reason whatever to suppose 
that, at the time, the boy was unaware of seeing the 
dog or of feeling frightened, or at any rate that he 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 361 

could not have been aware of them if he had chosen to 
introspect at the time. In this the experience contrasts 
strongly with the case of Livingstone and the lion, 
which is also quoted by Rivers. Livingstone noticed 
at the time that he was not aware of any pain or fear 
while in the jaws of the lion ; and the circumstances 
were such that, if he had been feeling pain or fear, he 
could hardly have failed to notice the fact. Here we 
may conclude, either that there was no experience of 
pain or fear connected with this situation ; or that, if 
there were, it was not a conscious experience of the 
mind known as '* Livingstone". 

The case of Rivers' patient is quite different. To say 
that his experience is unconscious means only that he 
cannot now remember it by normal means ; and it does 
not mean that it was not an ordinary conscious ex- 
perience which belonged to the boy at the time when it 
happened. It seems to me to be misleading in the 
highest degree to use the phrase "unconscious ex- 
perience" in these two utterly different senses. Rivers 
would no doubt say that the experience "was conscious" 
when it happened, and that it "became unconscious" 
afterwards. This, however, does not alter the fact 
that the words "conscious" and "unconscious" are 
being used in two senses which are quite disconnected 
with each other. In the first sense an experience either 
is conscious or it is not ; and, if it is one, it can never 
become the other. In the second sense one and the 
same experience may sometimes be conscious and at 
other times unconscious. For there might be times 
when a person could remember it normally, and other 
times when he could be got to remember it only by 
technical methods, if at all. 

The situation which Rivers is describing is a real and 
an important one ; but the terminology which he uses 
to describe it is hopeless. I shall substitute for the 
words "conscious" and " unconscious ", when used in 
this sense, the words "accessible" and "inaccessible" 



362 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

respectively. An experience is accessible when it can 
be remembered by normal means. It is inaccessible 
when it can be remembered only, if at all, by special 
technical methods. One and the same experience may 
be accessible at some times and inaccessible at others. 
Also there will probably be degrees of accessibility. 
Even when an experience can eventually be remembered 
by normal means it is sometimes harder and sometimes 
easier to do this. And I suppose that, when technical 
methods have to be applied, they sometimes succeed 
easily and sometimes only with difficulty. 

Corresponding to this distinction between accessible 
and inaccessible experiences there will be a distinction 
between mnemic persistents. Some of these can never 
by any means be made to give rise to memories of the 
experiences which originated them. If innate dispositions 
originated, as some think, in the experiences of our 
remote ancestors, they fall into this class. And probably 
some traces fall into it too. Other mnemic persistents 
will give rise to memories if special technical methods 
be applied, but not otherwise. And a third class give 
rise to memories without needing the application of 
special technical methods. Probably there is no sharp 
line between the second and third classes. 

The work of the psycho-analysts enables us to state 
one at least of the causes which tend to make certain 
experiences inaccessible. If the memory of a past 
experience would be specially painful or shocking to 
the present self there is a tendency for this experience 
to become inaccessible. It is sometimes said that the 
painfulness or shockingness of the original experience 
is the operative factor ; but I think that this is true 
only in a derivative way. The essential factor is the 
emotional effect which the memory of the experience 
would have if it arose now. The memory of many 
experiences which were quite enjoyable when they 
happened might be shocking or painful to the present 
self. Such experiences will tend to become inaccessible 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 363 

in spite of their originally pleasant character. Again, 
the memories of some experiences which were painful 
or shocking when they happened might be neutral, or 
even pleasant and amusing, to my present self. I see 
no reason to think that such experiences would be 
specially likely to become inaccessible. All that we 
can say is that, in a good many cases, the memory of 
an experience which was painful or shocking when it 
happened is likely to be itself painful or shocking now. 
So far, and only so far, as this is true painful or 
shocking experiences will tend to become inaccessible. 

(3) Ignored^ Misdescribed, or Dislocated Desires and 
Emotions. There is another non-literal sense of "un- 
conscious experiences", which applies specially to 
desires and emotions. It is rather closely connected 
with the sense which we have just been discussing, but 
it must be distinguished from this. There is no doubt 
that we have a general undiscriminating awareness of 
many of our experiences without introspectively analys- 
ing and discriminating them. Introspective analysis 
and discrimination involve a special act of attention 
which we can make or not as we like. And, if we choose 
to make it at all, we may take more or less trouble 
over it and can perform it more or less thoroughly. 
Even if we choose to make the attempt, and periform 
the discrimination and analysis to the best of our ability, 
we can make mistakes about the right analysis of our 
experiences, just as we can make mistakes in trying to 
analyse and describe external objects which are presented 
together in a confused jumble in our field of view. In- 
trospective discrimination is a difficult, tiresome and 
unwonted process ; and no one who is not used to it is 
likely to avoid mistakes. 

Now there are two classes of experience about 
which we are specially and systematically liable to 
make mistakes ; and these mistakes may have several 
different forms. The two classes in question are 
desires and emotions. Desires and emotions are the 



364 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

experiences par excellence about which we pass judg- 
ments of praise or blame on ourselves and others. 
If we find that we have certain desires and emotions 
we are obliged to think badly of ourselves ; and, if we 
confess such desires and emotion to others, they will 
think badly of us. We thus have a strong tendency 
not to discriminate these desires and emotions ; or, if 
we do discriminate them, to misdescribe them to our- 
selves ; or if we discriminate them and describe them 
rightly to ourselves, to refuse to acknowledge them 
to others. 

Now, in the case of emotions, we can go wrong 
either about the mental attitude itself or about its 
epistemological object. There is perhaps hardly any 
emotional attitude which is regarded as intrinsically 
bad ; i.e.^ as bad, no matter what kind of epistemo- 
logical object it may be directed to. The rule seems 
to be that the same emotional attitude is good when 
directed on to one kind of epistemological object and 
bad when directed on to an object of another kind. 
Conversely, of two emotional attitudes which may be 
directed on to the same epistemological object, one 
may be good and the other bad. In fact we apply 
ethical predicates to the whole situation composed of 
such and such an attitude directed to such and such 
an epistemological object, and not to the attitude taken 
in abstraction. It is, e.g.^ considered virtuous to hate 
sin, but wicked to hate even sinful people. And it is 
considered virtuous to feel emulation towards one's 
rivals, but wicked to feel oivy towards them. There 
are thus three methods of saving one's self-respect 
when one feels a certain emotion towards a certain 
object and believes that this kind of emotion ought 
not to be felt towards this kind of object. One method 
is to ignore the existence of the emotion altogether ; 
i.e., to refuse to turn our introspective attention in this 
dangerous direction. A second method is to discriminate 
the emotional attitude properly, but to substitute for 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 365 

its actual object another pretended object of such a 
kind that it would be respectable to take up this 
emotional attitude towards this object. E.g.^ I may 
really hate Germans or capitalists, and may recognise 
that I am feeling the emotion of hatred. But I may 
persuade myself, and try to persuade others, that what 
I hate is not Germans or capitalists as such but is the 
supposed special wickedness of these classes. In order 
to do this I shall very often have to make up a myth 
about them, and refuse to contemplate any of the 
perfectly obvious facts which show that Germans or 
capitalists are neither much better nor much worse 
than Englishmen or trades unionists. A third method 
is to make no mistake about the object of my emotion, 
and to recognise that I am feeling an emotion towards 
this object ; but to substitute for the emotion which I 
actually feel, and which I believe that it is not respect- 
able to feel towards that kind of object, another pre- 
tended emotional attitude which I believe it would be 
respectable to feel towards this object. I may recognise, 
e.g., that I feel a certain emotion towards the success 
of a fellow philosopher's book ; and I may pretend to 
myself and others that this is the respectable emotion 
of healthy rivalry when it is really the disreputable 
emotion of disappointed envy. This third method is 
easiest when the real and the pretended emotion do 
resemble each other or contain certain common con- 
stituents, as envy and rivalry do. Of course the second 
and third methods may be, and often are, combined, 
with the happiest results. The two emotions of malice 
and of righteous indignation are different ; but they 
certainly contain common factors, for both involve 
satisfaction at the thought of another's pain. And their 
appropriate objects are different, but have something 
in common. If now I actually feel malice towards 
Smith, I can easily keep my self-respect and the respect 
of others by persuading myself and them that I am 
feeling an exalted kind of satisfaction at the thought 



366 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

of Smith's moral purification through suffering. One 
of the reasons for the extreme popularity of war with 
childless women and others who are in no immediate 
personal or family danger is that it renders such sub- 
stitutions easy, and enables quite ordinary people to 
go about swelling with pretensions to moral superiority 
which would be exploded at once in a more normal 
atmosphere. 

The case of desires is, in one way, simpler than that 
of emotions. There do not seem to be intrinsically 
different kinds of conative attitude, as there are in- 
trinsically different kinds of emotional attitude, such as 
fearing and hating. So far as I can see, desires differ 
from each other only in their intensity and in their 
epistemological objects ; and the goodness or badness 
of a desire depends almost wholly on the nature of its 
object. (It no doubt depends partly also on the in- 
tensity of the desire. It would be considered that a 
very intense desire for knowledge is good, and that 
a moderate desire for bodily pleasure is good ; but a 
very intense desire for bodily pleasure would be re- 
garded as bad by many people.) If I entertain a desire 
for some object which it is considered wrong to desire, 
there are two courses open to me in order to keep my 
present high opinion of my moral character and to 
confirm other people in their high opinion of it. One 
is to ignore the existence of the desire altogether. 
Another is to recognise the existence of the desire, but 
to pretend to myself and to others that it is for some 
object which it is considered respectable to desire. As 
our motives are nearly always mixed, this process is 
childishly simple. It is only necessary to emphasise 
that part of the desired object which it is considered 
respectable to want, and to slur over that part of it 
which it is considered disreputable to want. It is need- 
less to give examples of a process which we are all 
doing continually. 

Such emotions and desires as we have been con- 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS", 367 

sidering are often given as examples of unconscious 
experiences. It seems to me that they are quite literally- 
conscious. They are in fact quite ordinary desires and 
emotions about whose existence, nature, and objects we 
need make no mistake if we introspect honestly and 
carefully enough. But, as a matter of fact, we do not 
do this. We ignore them altogether; or we "dis- 
locate" them, i.e.^ ascribe to them a different object 
from that which they really have ; or we misdescribe 
them, i.e., put them into a certain class of mental 
attitudes when we ought to put them into a certain 
other class. If there be anything literally unconscious 
in the whole business, it is not the desire or the emotion 
itself, but the process of ignoring, dislocating, or mis- 
describing it. We must therefore consider this process 
in rather more detail. 

If I am going to ignore, misdescribe, or dislocate a 
certain desire or emotion which I own, I must in some 
sense know that it is there and that there is a reason for 
treating it in this way. Now we have simultaneous 
undiscriminating awareness of many experiences which 
we do not attentively and deliberately introspect. I 
suggest that this kind of knowledge suffices to warn us 
that the ice is thin in certain places, and that we had 
better not turn our introspective attention in these 
particular directions. The question might then be 
raised: "How far is this aversion of discriminating 
introspection from certain desires and emotions a 
deliberate and conscious process?" In answer to this 
I think that the following considerations are important. 
[a) If we have a conscious desire to ignore certain ex- 
periences, because we think that they would turn out 
to be unflattering to our self-respect, this desire is itself 
an experience which we shall tend to ignore. For it is 
not flattering to our self-respect to have to acknowledge 
that we can keep it only by averting our attention from 
certain of our desires and emotions. It follows that, 
even if we deliberately and consciously ignore certain 



368 . THE UNCONSCIOUS 

desires and emotions, we shall almost certainly refuse 
to acknowledge this fact to ourselves, and still more so 
to others. Thus I think that the aversion of our dis- 
criminative introspection from certain of our experiences 
is much oftener a deliberate and literally conscious 
process than is commonly admitted. I believe that we 
generally know when we are doing this, and that the 
extreme "touchiness" which we are liable to display 
when taxed with it is a sign that we do. 

(d) An aversion of introspective attention, which be- 
gins by being deliberate, will quickly become habitual. 
An analogy will make this plain. If I have a tender 
tooth I shall at first deliberately try to avoid biting 
on it, and shall sometimes make mistakes and hurt 
myself. But very soon I shall automatically avoid 
biting on it. Now emotions and desires tend to recur ; 
and, if I at first deliberately avert my attention from 
some of them, I shall very soon come to do so habitu- 
ally. This habit, like any other, may eventually become 
so strong that it cannot be overcome by deliberate 
volition. 

(c) A method which we very commonly use is to put 
a ring-fence round a certain region, to label it as 
dangerous, and to avert our attention from the whole 
of it. All patriots do this with the whole subject of the 
virtues of their enemies and the faults of their fellow- 
countrymen ; many scientists put such a fence round 
all the subjects which are investigated by Psychical 
Researchers ; and the minds of most clergymen appear 
to be full of regions guarded with barbed wire and a 
notice that "Trespassers will be Prosecuted". Once 
this has been done it becomes perfectly easy to assert 
with complete good faith that we are not deliberately 
turning our attention away from any assigned desire or 
emotion which falls within such a region. We can 
truthfully say that we never thought for a moment of 
this particular experience, and therefore cannot have 
deliberately ignored it ; just as a thief might truly say 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 369 

that he had never touched a certain necklace if he had 
merely pocketed the case which in fact contains it. 

Now I think it is certain that what are called "un- 
conscious " desires and emotions are often simply desires 
and emotions which we habitually ignore, misdescribe, 
or dislocate. An experience which is "unconscious" 
only in this sense is not literally an unconscious ex- 
perience. And the process of ignoring, misdescribing, 
or dislocating it is not literally an unconscious mental 
process. Sometimes it is a conscious and deliberate 
process which is itself ignored or misdescribed. Some- 
times it is habitual. In the first case it is not literally 
unconscious ; and in the second there is no positive 
reason for thinking that it is literally an experience or 
series of experiences. 

Ignored experiences cannot be identified with in- 
accessible experiences. Many experiences which have 
become inaccessible were not ignored when they 
happened ; and many which were ignored when they 
happened have not become inaccessible. Nevertheless, 
there probably is a close connexion between ignored and 
inaccessible experiences. Experiences which it would be 
painful or shocking to discriminate are generally those 
which it would be painful or shocking to remember ; 
and these, as we know, tend to become inaccessible. 
Moreover, the mere fact that an experience is habitually 
ignored probably tends to make its trace less definite 
and more isolated, and therefore to increase the difficulty 
of remembering it by normal means. 

I have discussed this subject mainly in connexion 
with the ignoring of experiences. But exactly the 
same remarks apply to misdescribed and dislocated 
experiences. In themselves these experiences, though 
often called "unconscious", are literally conscious. 
And the process of misdescribing them or dislocating 
them is either a deliberate process which we choose to 
ignore or misdescribe, or it is an habitual process which 
is not literally an experience at all. 

2 A 



370 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

(4) Unrecognised Needs. There is another sense iii 
which the phrase " unconscious desires " has been used, 
in which it does not denote a literally unconscious ex- 
perience. This has been brought out very clearly by 
Mr Russell in his Analysis of Mind ; though I do not 
agree with his apparent opinion that it covers all that 
is meant by the phrase "unconscious desire", and I 
agree still less with the arguments and the conclusions 
which he bases on it. When we have the experience 
of desiring something we present to ourselves in 
imagination some possible future state of affairs to which 
we take up the conative attitude. And it is an essential 
part of this attitude that we believe that this state of 
affairs, if realised, will satisfy us and bring the conative 
situation to an end. Now, of course, what I now believe 
would satisfy me may be extremely different both in 
outline and in detail from what would really satisfy me, 
I have no infallible revelation about what state of affairs 
will brinor a certain kind of uneasiness to rest. I cannot 
learn about this by introspection, however careful and 
thorough ; for this will tell me only about the elements 
and the structure of my present conative situation. 
The recorded experiences of others may provide me 
with the basis for a more or less probable inference on 
the subject ; but, in the main, the only available policy 
is to " wait and see." 

Now sometimes it is said that what I " really desire " 
is what would in fact satisfy my present conation. 
With this terminology it is certain that I am often not 
conscious of what I really desire. And this fact is 
expressed by saying that I have an "unconscious 
desire " for what would in fact satisfy me. I think that 
this is a most unfortunate and misleading terminology. 
It is much better to begin by distinguishing between 
what I "desire" or "want" and what I "need". I 
may set before myself the idea of a large fortune, and 
spend most of my life trying to gain it. If so, it is pre- 
posterous to say that I only think that I desire money ; 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 371 

I really do desire it. I have a conative attitude, and the 
epistemological object to which it is directed is my 
future wealth. It is true to say that I desire money in 
precisely the same sense in which it is true to say that 
the drunkard sees pink rats ; and to deny this is to 
confuse an epistemological object with an ontological 
object. Now I may find that, when I have made a 
great deal of money, the same kind of dissatisfaction 
still persists. And it may be true that this dissatis- 
faction would in fact have been removed if I had acquired 
fame instead of money. If so, I needed fame. But it is 
preposterous to say that I desired fame, if I never put 
the idea of fame before myself, or felt any attraction for 
it, or strove after it. To say that I "unconsciously 
desired" fame, is like saying that the drunkard "un- 
consciously saw " the alcohol in his stomach. 

What is true then is that needs often give rise to 
desires, and that the desire which is caused by a certain 
need may have an epistemological object which fails to 
agree with the ontological object which would satisfy 
that need. But needs are not desires, nor are they 
experiences at all ; hence a ne ed of which I am unaware 
cannot properly be called an uncimsGiettS^esire, or aiu 
unconscious ,exj>e;;zence of a ny km d^. Still, there is no 
doubt that one of the meanings which is given to the 
phrase "unconscious desires" is "needs of which a 
person is unaware ". I shall call " unconscious desires ", 
in this sense, by the much less misleading name of 
"unrecognised needs". 

I have now pointed out four non-literal senses in 
which psychologists use the phrase "unconscious ex- 
periences " or at any rate " unconscious mental states ". 
(i) In the sense of traces and dispositions, they seem 
to have no claim to be called "experiences", and no 
obvious claim to be called " mental" unless it can be 
shown that they cannot be simply modifications of the 
brain and nervous system. (2) In the sense of inaccessible 
experiences, "unconscious mental states" w^ere literally 



11^: 



372 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

experiences when they happened. But they were also 
literally conscious; and no subsequent facts about memory 
or the lack of it can make them literally unconscious. 
(3) " Unconscious desires and emotions", in the sense 
of desires and emotions which we ignore, misdescribe, 
or dislocate, are certainly experiences. But they are 
literally conscious. (4) '' Unconscious desires ", in the 
sense of unrecognised needs, are, so far as one can see, 
not experiences at all. And the desires for objects 
which will not in fact satisfy us, which are often 
caused by unrecognised needs, are ordinary conscious 
experiences. 

It now remains to try to see what is meant by 
literally conscious and literally unconscious experiences 
or mental states. The existence of *' unconscious mental 
states", in the four non-literal senses which we have 
enumerated, is so obvious that people would not have 
thought of quarrelling about unconscious mental states 
unless they had had some other and more literal meaning 
of this phrase at the back of their minds. 

Literally Unconscious Mental Events. I will first try to 
point out what seem to me to be the characteristic 
marks of a conscious mental state, and I will then 
describe a literally unconscious mental state as one 
which lacks some of these marks. 

In order that a mental state of mine may be conscious 
it is certainly not necessary that I should be " conscious 
of it " when it happens, in the sense of making it the 
object of an act of introspective attention. I have no 
doubt that I have been seeing the words of this page as 
I wrote them down ; and 1 am sure that my perceptions 
of the words have been instances of what every one 
would call "conscious experiences". But I most 
certainly did not make these perceptual states into 
objects of introspective attention while they were 
happening. My attention was taken up with my argu- 
ment and with the words themselves, and I was not 
attending at all to the process of seeing the words. No 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 373 

doubt all processes which I introspectively discriminate 

are conscious, but the converse of this is certainly not 

true. A conscious experience of mine cannot therefore 1 

be defined as an experience of mine of which 1 was / TW^p> 

conscious at the time when it happened, if by "being ) *^ 

conscious of" you mean "making an object of intro- ' 

spective attention ". 

Nevertheless, it might be possible to mark off con- 
scious experiences from all other mental events by 
means of some more hypothetical references to intro- 
spective discrimination. Might we not say that every 
conscious experience of mine is one that I should have / < -t — 
succeeded in discriminating if I had introspected care- \ ^^^^ 
fully enough while it was happening or immediately 
afterwards? I think that we are inclined to believe 
this about all mental events which we should be 
prepared to count as "conscious experiences" of ours, 
and that we are not inclined to believe it about any- 
thing else. It is therefore plausible to take it as a 
sufficient description, if not as a definition, of a "con- 
scious experience " of mine. 

But, even as a description, it needs some further 
elaboration. There are certain experiences which 
probably could have been introspectively discriminated 
while they were happening, and which would yet be 
called "unconscious", in a sense which does not fall 
under any of the four non-literal headings already men- 
tioned. Take dreams, for instance. From one point 
of view all dreams would be called " unconscious 
experience ". Yet, from another point of view, to see 
my friend in a dream is as much a "conscious experi- 
ence" as to see him in waking life. It is certain that 
many dream-experiences could have been introspected 
by the dreamer while they were happening ; for I have 
quite often introspecte d my d ream-exp,eriencesr~Whiie 
dreaming, and I do not suppose that this is at all 
exceptional in people' wild are given to introspection. 
Another example' is provided by alleged cases of 



374 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

co-consciousness. Sally Beauchamp, in Dr Morton 
Prince's Dissociation of a Personality^ claimed to be 
aware of most of the things of which B^ was aware 
when the latter was in control of the body and the 
former was not. From Sally's point of view these 
states of awareness were just as "conscious" as the 
contemporary states of awareness in B^^ ; in fact this is 
precisely what the claim to rc-consciousness, as dis- 
tinct from alternating consciousness, amounts to. It 
seems to me that the only way to deal with such cases 
as these is to introduce a distinction between "rela- 
tively" and "absolutely" unconscious mental events. 
We shall then have to distinguish relatively unconscious 
experiences from strictly conscious experiences by con- 
sidering who precisely could have introspected them 
when they were happening. We call the vivid dream 
of a normal man and the alleged co-conscious experi- 
ences of Sally "conscious", because there was some 
mind, viz., my sleeping self in the one case and Sally 
in the other, which could have introspectively dis- 
criminated them if it had tried at the time when they 
were happening. We call the same experiences "un- 
conscious " simply because the only mind which could 
have introspectively discriminated them at the time 
when they were happening was a mind which was not 
then in control of the body concerned in the experience. 
Such experiences as these I shall call "relatively 
unconscious". An "absolutely unconscious" mental 
event would be one that could not have been intro- 
spectively discriminated at the time of its occurrence 
by any mind, whether in control at the time of a body 
or not. 

I am well aware that even these amended descriptions 
are open to serious objections. What do we mean by 
" controlling a body " ? And when is a certain mind in 
control of a certain body, and when is it not? If you 
press me with these questions, I doubt whether I can 
give a perfectly satisfactory answer to them. Still, it 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 375 

seems to me that the kind of fact which I refer to under 
the name of "control " is pretty obvious. There is an 
important sense in which the mind which is known as 
"C.D.B." is at present in control of my body, and in 
which it will not be in control of my body later in the 
evening when I am in bed and asleep. At that time 
no mind will, in this sense, be "in control of" it; 
though it will, no doubt, still be behaving in a some- 
what different way from that in which it would behave 
if it were no longer animated by a mind at all. In the 
case of alternating personality a recognisably different 
mind is at different times "in control of" the same 
body, even if there be reason to suppose that all these 
minds are in a sense parts of a single "mind" which 
continues to animate this body throughout life. 

There is unfortunately one other highly debatable 
conception which I must introduce before giving a 
description of literally unconscious mental events which 
can make any claim to be satisfactory. This is the 
notion of the ' ' ownership " of a mental event by a mind. 
To own an experience is evidently not the same as to 
discriminate it introspectively. It is commonly believed 
that only mental events which are owned by some mind 
can be introspectively discriminated, and that the only 
mind which can introspectively discriminate an experi- 
ence is the mind which owns it. If this be true, both 
absolutely conscious and relatively unconscious mental 
events must be owned by minds. But theoretically there 
would be two quite different kinds of absolutely uncon- 
scious mental events. The first would be owned by a 
mind which, for some reason, could not have intro- 
spectively discriminated them when they happened even 
if it had tried. The second would have been incapable 
of being introspectively discriminated by any mind 
simply because they were not owned by any mind. I 
have so far drawn no distinction between " experiences^^ 
and ^'mental events ". This seems to be a convenient 
place to do so. All experiences are mental events 4 but 



376 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

I think it would be in accordance with usage to say that, 
if there be unowned mental events, they should not be 
called " experiences ". So I will define an " experience " 
as a mental event which is owned by some mind. 
Thus absolutely unconscious mental events will divide 
in theory into {a) absolutely unconscious experiences ; 
i.e.y mental events which are owned, but could not have 
been introspectively discriminated when they happened ; 
and {b) unowned mental events. 

Of course many people would deny off-hand the 
possibility of unowned mental events. They may be 
right. On the other hand, they may be defining " mental 
event'' in some way which includes ownership by a 
mind as part of the definition. In that case their denial 
is merely an analytic proposition. Again, anyone who 
holds that a mind does not require a Pure Ego, but 
consists simply of a mass of suitably interconnected 
mental events, can hardly deny the possibility of masses 
of mental events so poor in content and so loosely inter- 
connected as not to deserve the name of "minds". If 
so, he can hardly deny the possibility that some mental 
events are not owned by minds, even if he denies the 
possibility of completely isolated mental events. For 
these reasons it is wise to introduce the class of ' ' unowned 
mental events ", even though it may turn out to be a 
mere blank window. 

I must now state more clearly what I mean by 
"ownership". I do not think that it is definable, in 
the sense in which I am using it. But it is a highly 
ambiguous word ; and, by pointing out the senses in 
which I am not using it, I may be able to indicate co the 
reader what I want him to think about, (i) In the very 
widest sense we call a mental event "an experience of 
Smith's " if it is specially connected with the stimulation 
of Smith's body. And by "Smith's body" we mean 
the body which is normally controlled by a certain 
recognisable mind known as " Smith ". In this sense a 
mental event might be called "an experience of Smith's " 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 377 

even if it were not owned by his mind or by any other 
mind. (2) In a slightly narrower sense a mind M might 
be said to be still owning a mental event if this has left 
some trace which still affects M's conscious experiences 
from time to time. In this sense Rivers' claustrophobic 
patient was still " owning" the experience with the dog 
in the passage, both before and after Rivers had cured 
him by enabling him to remember the incident. (3) In 
a still narrower sense of "ownership" we should say 
that a mind still owns those and only those experiences 
which it can remember at will. In this sense Rivers' 
patient had ceased to "own" the dog-experience for 
many years, and began to "own" it again only after 
Rivers had cured him. We have two senses of " owner- 
ship" in connexion with personal property, which corres- 
pond to the last two senses mentioned above. In the 
wider sense of "ownership" I am still the owner of a 
certain umbrella even after it has been lost or stolen. It 
remains my umbrella, though it now rests permanently 
\n your hat-stand. In the narrower sense I own it only 
so long as I can lay hands on it at will. Experiences 
which are owned in senses (2) or (3) may be said to be 
" mnemically owned " ; because, strictly speaking, their 
continued ownership by me means only that they con- 
tinue to affect my conscious experiences. The two 
senses may be distinguished from each other by calling 
the former " mnemic ownership de jure'"' and the latter 
" mnemic ownership de facto et dejiire". 

Now I am 7iot using "ownership" in any of these 
three senses in my attempts to give sufficient descrip- 
tions of literally conscious and unconscious mental 
events. It is in fact evident that there is another-sense 
of " ownership ", which is not mnemic. When I look 
out of the window and see a man passing, or when I 
feel a twinge of toothache, these experiences are owned 
by me in a fundamental and probably indefinable sense. 
This is a sense in which the visual experience ceases 
to be owned by me as soon as the man passes out of 



378 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

sight, and the other experience ceases as soon as I cease 
to feel my tooth aching. They may still continue to be 
owned by me both de jure and de facto. I may from 
time to time remember seeing the man or feeling the 
pain. And, even if I cannot do this, these experiences 
may continue to modify my later experiences from time 
to time in some way or other. Let us call this third, 
non-mnemic, sense of "ownership" by the name of 
" literal ownership ". In my attempts to give sufficient 
descriptions of literally conscious and unconscious 
mental events it must be understood that, wherever I 
use the word "ownership", I mean "literal owner- 
ship ". It is probable that many mental events which 
have been literally owned are not mnemically owned 
de facto for more than a negligibly short time ; and it is 
probable that many of them are not mnemically owned 
de jure for long. And it is quite possible that mental 
events which have never been literally owned by me 
may be mnemically owned by me de jure if not de facto. 

I will now repeat the descriptions which we have 
reached. These must be interpreted in the light of the 
remarks which I have just been making, (i) Mental 
events are either owned or unowned. All unowned 
events are incapable of being introspectively discrimin- 
ated by any mind, and are therefore absolutely unconscious. 
(2) Events which are mental and are owned by some 
mind are called "experiences". Mental events which 
are unowned are not to be called "experiences", and 
therefore not "unconscious experiences ''\ (3) Mental 
events which are owned may be such that the mind 
which owns them could, or such that it could not, have 
introspectively discriminated them at the time of their 
occurrence if it had tried. In the latter case they are 
absolutely unconscious experiences of that mind. (4) Mental 
events which are owned and could have been intro- 
spected may be owned by a mind which is at the time 
of their occurrence in control of a body, or by a mind 
which is not in control of a body at that time. In the 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 379 

former case they are absohitely conscious experiences. \ n 
the latter case they are relatively unconscious experiences, 
i.e., they are conscious experiences of what would 
commonly be called an "unconscious mind". These 
results are exhibited synoptically in the table which 
follows : 

/ By controlling mind {Absolutely Conscious] \ 

■ Introspectible^ ' 



I IntrospectiblcA 

I I By non-controlling mind [Relaii7'cly Unconscious] 

\ No)L-introspectu 

^'^^^^^ 1 'r Absolutely Unconscious 



r Owned j 
Mental | ^ Non-introspectiblc ^ 




\_ Unoivned L- 

The next point to notice is that I do not pretend to 
have given either definitions of literally conscious or 
unconscious mental events, or tests for them. At most 
I claim to have given descriptions which suffice to dis- 
tinguish the two in theory. I will now say something 
more about this first point. I think that almost every- 
one would be inclined to say : " It may be that all my 
conscious experiences are mental events which I owned 
and which I could have introspectively discriminated 
at the time ; and it may be that there is nothing else of 
which this is true. But this purely hypothetical pro- 
position about what would have happened if I had 
introspected cannot be ultimate. There must be some 
intrinsic difference between those experiences of mine 
which I could have introspected and those which I 
could not have introspectively discriminated even if I 
had tried my hardest. And this intrinsic difference, 
whatever it may be, is what we nieaji by the difference 
between a conscious and an unconscious experience." 

This may very well be true. One can think of at 
least three circumstances which might tend to make it 
impossible to discriminate an experience introspectively. 
(i) The difficulty might arise through the experience 
being an event all of whose characteristics have an 
extremely weak intensive magnitude. (2) The char- 
acteristics of the experience might be reasonably intense, 
but it might be part of a larger mass of experiences 



38o THE UNCONSCIOUS 

which were extremely like it both qualitatively and 
quantitatively. (3) The experience might have consider- 
able intensity, and might differ from other co-existing 
experiences both qualitatively and quantitatively to a 
marked extent ; but it might stand in certain special 
relations to other contents of the mind which prevent 
it from being introspectively discriminated. This third 
possibility would seem to split into two. {a) It might 
take a merely negative form. It might be that this 
experience is relatively isolated, and stands in but few 
relations to the other contents of the mind. The limiting 
case of this arises when a mental event is not owned by 
a mind at all, in the literal sense of " ownership ". (d) It 
might take a positive form. There might be some positive 
relation between this experience and the rest of the mind 
which positively averts introspective attention from the 
former. And this peculiar relation might depend on 
some intrinsic quality in the experience. B.£:, the 
experience may be such that, whenever it begins to be 
introspected, an intolerably painful feeling begins to 
arise in the mind which owns it. It seems likely that 
all these various possibilities are realised in practice in 
various cases of literally unconscious experiences. 

" Simultaneous Undiscriniinating Awareness'^ and'''' Owner- 
ship ". I will end this section by raising a rather difficult 
question which is very closely connected with what we 
have just been discussing. In our descriptions of liter- 
ally conscious and unconscious mental events we have 
used two obviously different relations which may hold 
between a mind and a mental event, viz., literal owner- 
ship and introspective discrimination. The latter seems 
to imply the former, but the former can evidently hold 
without the latter. Now there seems to be a third 
possible relation between a mind and a mental event, 
which might be called " Simultaneous Undiscriminating 
Awareness". I want to say something about this, and 
to consider how it is related to literal ownership. 

Let us consider the case of looking for one's spectacles 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 381 

in a certain drawer, and failing to find them though they 
were staring one in the face all the time. If I were asked 
whether I was at the time aware of seeing the drawer 
and most of its contents, I should answer *'Yes", in 
one sense, and "No", in another. Certainly I was 
aware of seeing the drawer and most of its contents in 
a sense in which I was not aware of seeing the spectacles. 
On the other hand, I was almost certainly not introspec- 
tively discriminating the process of seeing the drawer ; 
for my whole attention was devoted at the time to the 
drawer itself and its contents, and not to my own mental 
states. It is evident that, in the vast majority of cases 
of conscious perception, I am not aware of my perception, 
in the sense of introspectively discriminating it. Never- 
theless, I should certainly refuse to entertain the sugges- 
tion that I am not aware, in any sense, of my conscious 
perceptions while they are taking place. I shall say 
then that the person in our example was aware of his 
act of seeing the drawer and most of its contents, in 
the sense that he had "simultaneous undiscriminating 
awareness " of this mental event. It is also true that he 
" literally owned " this mental event; it was literally a 
part of his mental history. 

It would seem then that literally conscious experiences 
are always literally owned by a rnirici, and that the mind 
which owns them has always simultaneous undiscrimin- 
ating awareness of them. But, in ninety-nine cases out 
of a hundred, it does not also introspectively discriminate 
them. The question now arises : " Do we ever literally 
own mental events of which we do not have at least 
simultaneous undiscriminating awareness?" 

It will first be necessary to modify the question in 
order to remove the danger of an infinite regress. If 
"literal ownership" and "simultaneous undiscrimin- 
ating awareness" be just two different names for a 
single relation, it will of course follow that I must have 
simultaneous undiscriminating awareness of any mental 
event which I own. And there will be no infinite 



382 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

regress in this assertion. But, suppose that the two 
names stand for different relations. Suppose I own a 
certain state s, and that I have simultaneous undis- 
criminating awareness of s. This awareness of s will 
also be a state which is owned by me. And, if I must 
have simultaneous undiscriminating awareness of evety 
mental event that I own, I must have it of this state 
too. We should thus be launched on an infinite regress 
of awarenesses of awarenesses of awarenesses of ... . 
So, unless we take "literal ownership" and "simul- 
taneous undiscriminating awareness " to be simply two 
names for the same relation, or else modify the proposi- 
tion which we are investigating, we can be sure that 
this proposition involves an infinite multiplication of 
states of mind. I do not maintain that such an infinite 
series of mental states belonging to a single mind 
involves any contradiction. But there is not the faintest 
reason to believe that it is a fact ; and it certainly would 
be undesirable to accept a proposition which has this 
implication, unless there were the strongest grounds 
for doing so. 

It is of course quite easy to modify the proposition 
which we are considering, so that it shall not entail 
the existence of an infinite series of contemporary mental 
states belonging to the same mind. We can begin by 
distinguishing " orders " of mental events. We might 
call my awareness of the drawer a state of the first order ; 
my simultaneous undiscriminating awareness of my 
awareness of the drawer a state of the second order ; 
and so on. And we might put the proposition into the 
milder form that I have simultaneous undiscriminating 
awareness of every mental event which I own, provided 
that its order does not exceed some finite number n. 
The state of n+ \th order, which is my awareness of a 
state of nth order, would then be owned by me but 
would not be an object of simultaneous undiscrimin- 
ating awareness to me. In particular it might be that 
I necessarily have simultaneous undiscriminating aware- 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 383 

ness of all mental events of the first order which I own ; 
but that I do not necessarily have simultaneous undis- 
criminating awareness of any of my experiences whose 
order is greater than one. Stated in this form the 
proposition is intrinsically unobjectionable, whether it 
be in fact true or not. 

We have now to consider whether there is any 
reason to believe it. For this purpose we had better 
return to our example about the spectacles. It is 
plausible to hold that I have simultaneous undis- 
criminating awareness of all my conscious experiences 
of the first order. The question is whether there may 
not be unconscious experiences of the first order which 
I own but of which I do not have simultaneous undis- 
criminating awareness. We must notice that I should 
not normally use the words "conscious" and "uncon- 
scious" at all in describing my experience with the 
drawer and the spectacles. I should simply say: "I 
saw the drawer and most of its contents, but I did not 
see the spectacles." The adjectives "conscious" and 
" unconscious " are added later, as a result of reflection 
and inference. I find that the spectacles must have 
been physically affecting my retina just as much as 
the drawer and the rest of its contents did. I then 
perhaps persuade myself that I vmst have seen the 
spectacles. And I express the obvious difference 
between the way in which I must have seen the 
spectacles, if I saw them at all, and the way in which 
I certainly did see the drawer and the rest of its con- 
tents, by saying that I saw the drawer "consciously" 
and that I must have seen the spectacles "uncon- 
sciously ", if at all. Now this phraseology does suggest 
the possibility of first-order experiences which are owned 
by me, but of which I am not aware even in the sense 
of simultaneous undiscriminating awareness. When I 
say: "/ saw the spectacles unconsciously" or " J/j' 
seeing of them was unconscious", I imply that this 
experience was owned by me. And, when I say that 



384 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

it was unconscious, I do imply that I was not aware 
of it even in the sense in which I was aware of seeing 
the drawer and the rest of its contents. That is, I do 
imply that I did not have even simultaneous undis- 
criminating awareness of seeing the spectacles. 

But it seems to me very doubtful whether we have 
any right to accept the verbal implications of this 
phraseology. The natural thing for me to say is 
simply: "I did not see the spectacles". And the 
plain, straightforward meaning of this is that either 
there was no mental event at all called "seeing the 
spectacles ", or that, if there were, it was not literally 
owned by me. Now it does not seem to me that the 
facts which are taken into consideration on later re- 
flection give us any ground for reversing this view, 
even if they do give us some ground for accepting the 
view that a mental event called "seeing the spectacles " 
did exist at the time. The facts which are adduced in 
favour of the view that a mental event, called "seeing 
the spectacles", must have existed at the time fall into 
two main groups, (i) It is argued that the spectacles 
and my retina were in such relative positions that light 
from the former must have affected the latter in a way 
which might reasonably have been expected to produce 
such a mental event, (ii) It may be that in dreams, 
or by hypnosis or psycho-analysis or some other 
technical method, I come to have experiences or to do 
or say things which are hard to explain except on the 
assumption that a certain mental event existed in the 
past and that it is affecting my present experiences 
or actions. Even if we admit that such arguments 
make it probable that a mental event of "seeing the 
spectacles " existed while I was searching in the drawer, 
there seems no reason to believe that they make it 
probable that this mental event was literally owned by 
me. No doubt, if it existed at all, its occurrence de- 
pended on the stimulation of my body. It is also true 
that it is a mental event which afterwards affects experi- 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 385 

ences in my mind. But this does not suffice to prove 
that, when it happened, it was my experience, in the 
plain straightforward sense in which the experience of 
seeing the drawer and the rest of its contents was an 
experience of mine. 

Now, if this be granted, there would seem to be no 
very good ground for distinguishing between the first- 
order mental states which I own and the first-order 
mental states of which I have simultaneous undis- 
criminating awareness. The only ground for dis- 
tinguishing between the two was that certain common 
phrases do seem to suggest that there are mental events 
which I literally own but of which I do not have even 
simultaneous undiscriminating awareness. But we have 
now seen that, even if there be mental events which 
arise through the stimulation of my body and sub- 
sequently affect my experiences, and of which I have not 
simultaneous undiscriminating awareness, there is no 
good reason to think that they are literally owned by 
me. Hence I think that it is quite likely that all first- 
order experiences which I literally own are also 
experiences of which 1 have at least simultaneous un- 
discriminating awareness ; and that all mental events 
of which I have simultaneous undiscriminating aware- 
ness are literally owned by me. This of course leaves 
it quite possible that literal ownership and simultaneous 
undiscriminating awareness are different relations ; just 
as size and shape are different qualities, though any- 
thing which has either must have both. And I think 
it is pretty certain that they are different relations, for 
the following reason. If they were just two names for 
a single relation it would be quite certain that every 
mental event which I own, no matter what its order 
might be, would be an object of simultaneous un- 
discriminating awareness to me. This would be an 
identical proposition. Now it does not seem to be in 
the least certain that there could not be mental events 
which I own but of which I do not have even simultane- 

2 B 



386 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

ous undiscriminating awareness. I think that a person 
who felt quite certain that he had simultaneous un- 
discriminating awareness of all the first-order events 
which he owns might feel very doubtful indeed whether 
he had simultaneous undiscriminating awareness of his 
simultaneous undiscriminating awareness of his first- 
order experiences. And, if we press the question on 
him for experiences of higher orders, I think there will 
certainly come a stage at which he will feel pretty certain 
that he could own a mental event without having even 
this kind of awareness of it. If this be so, "literal 
ownership" and "simultaneous undiscriminating aware- 
ness " can hardly be two names for a single relation. 
Thus, on the whole, I think the most probable conclu- 
sion is that we are concerned with two different relations 
which, in the case of first-order experiences, always go 
together. In the case of experiences of a sufficiently 
high order literal ownership holds without simultaneous 
undiscriminating awareness. 

The Notion of "The Unconscious." We are now in a 
position to deal with the substantive " The Unconscious", 
after clearing up the meanings of the adjective "un- 
conscious ". Here again we find that there are great 
ambiguities. We must first notice a systematic 
ambiguity in all such phrases as this. When we talk of 
'■'■the State " or " ^"//^ Internal Combustion Engine" we 
generally mean a typical idealised state or internal 
combustion engine. We use such phrases in this way 
when we are pretty certain that we are dealing with a 
class, such as states and internal combustion engines, 
having several quite distinct members which do not 
combine to form a single complex whole which is itself 
a state or an internal combustion engine. Each of 
these members is supposed to be a more or less im- 
perfect approximation to that ideal limit which we call 
"the State" or "the Internal Combustion Engine", 
and which Plato would consider to be "laid up in 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 387 

Heaven". On the other hand, when we talk of "the 
Sea", we do not as a rule mean a typical ideal sea, but 
just the whole mass of salt water on earth of which 
the various seas are so many different parts. This 
ambiguity is inconvenient even when we are talking 
about "the State" (except to Idealistic Metaphysicians 
whose more exciting results all depend on juggling with 
the defects of language instead of trying to correct 
them). It would be still more so if there were a single 
international world-state, as there ought to be. For, in 
that case "the State" might mean an ideal typical 
state, or it might mean the actual Super-State of which 
all other states would be constituents. 

Now this kind of ambiguity is specially dangerous 
when we are dealing with something about which we 
know so little as we do about the Unconscious. It may 
be that there is only this and that Unconscious, just as 
there is this and that internal combustion engine ; and 
that the totality of all unconscious mental events has 
as little unity and individuality as the totality of all 
internal combustion engines. On the other hand, it 
is possible that the total Unconscious is not divisible 
into Smith's Unconscious, Brown's Unconscious, and 
so on ; so that it is only the Unconscious taken as a 
whole, and without reference to the various origins of 
various parts of it, which can be treated as an individual 
unit. Lastly, there is the much more likely alternative 
that the total contents of the Unconscious do form an 
important unity, and that they also fall into various 
sub-groups, each of which has a greater internal unity 
than the Unconscious as a whole. The Unconscious as 
a whole might be like the United States ; and Smith's 
Unconscious and Brown's Unconscious might be like 
the State of New York and the State of Nebraska. It is 
most undesirable that we should use phrases which 
tacitly prejudge these questions, and tie us down to 
one or other of the extreme alternatives. It wull be 
wise to introduce at once certain technical terms to 




388 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

avoid these dangers. I will call the whole contents 
of the Unconscious, taken collectively as a single 
mass and without regard to the various origins of its 
various parts, the "Total Unconscious ". It is then open 
to anyone to raise the questions : {a) " What are 
the contents of the Total Unconscious?"; and {d) 
"Does the Total Unconscious possess anything worth 
calling a ' structure ' ; and, if so, what kind of structure 
does it possess?" If the Total Unconscious should 
contain organised sub-groups, each having an im- 
portant degree of unity and individuality, these may 
be called "Unconscious Sub-groups". If, and only 
if, the Total Unconscious proved to have that kind 
of structure which characterises minds like our own, 
we could talk of the "Total Unconscious Mind". If 
any of the unconscious sub-groups proved to have this 
kind of structure, it could be called a "Special Un- 
conscious Mind ". 

T/ie Total Unconscious. One part of the contents of 
the Total Unconscious will be all mnemic persistents, 
i.e.^ all traces and dispositions, no matter whose experi- 
ences left the traces or Avhose experiences these traces 
and dispositions may subsequently modify. This will 
be divisible into an accessible and an inaccessible part, 
in the sense defined earlier in this Chapter. I will call 
this part of the Total Unconscious the " Total Mnemic 
Mass". I see no reason to suppose that there is any 
fundamental intrinsic difference between the accessible 
and the inaccessible parts of the Total Mnemic Mass. 
The inaccessible part is mainly dealt with by abnormal 
psychologists and by psycho-analysts ; the accessible 
part has long been recognised in normal psychology. 
The importance of the work of the psycho-analysts is 
not that they have revealed anything absolutely new 
and unheard of. It is only the extreme ignorance of 
most of them about all subjects except their own which 
causes them to make such claims. The real importance 
of their work is in the following points, {a) They have 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 389 

shown that many inaccessible traces or groups of traces 
do not rest idly. In so far as these fail to produce their 
normal effects, e.g., memories, they are liable to produce 
various bodily and mental disorders, {b) They have 
devised several new technical methods for making 
inaccessible traces accessible. {c) They have shown 
that, when this has been done, the mental and bodily 
disorders are often (for a time, at least) alleviated. 
{d) They have stated some of the probable causes which 
tend to make certain experiences become inaccessible. 
These are great achievements ; and it is a pity to create 
prejudice against them by ignorant pontifications about 
'* the New Psychology ". The psychologists of instinct 
(such as M'Dougall) also deal with the inaccessible 
part of the Total Mnemic Mass ; but I cannot pretend 
to believe that they have accomplished anything except 
to revive the faculty-psychology in an extreme form 
and with an amusingly pretentious parade of '* science." 

Now, if the whole content of the Total Unconscious 
be mnemic persistents, there is no reason to suppose 
that it contains mental events at all. For there is no 
known reason to believe that traces and dispositions 
are sufficiently like the only mental events which we 
know directly (viz., our own conscious experiences) to 
be called "mental events". And, if the Total Un- 
conscious does not contain mental events, it cannot 
possibly be a mind or comprise sub-groups which are 
minds, no matter how complex its structure may be or 
how definitely it is divided into sub-groups having 
their own unity and individuality. Thus, on this hypo- 
thesis, there would be no Total Unconscious Mind, and 
there would be no Special Unconscious Minds. 

If, however, there be literally unconscious mental 
events, viz. {a) unowned mental events, or {b) mental 
events which were literally owned by a mind but which 
could not have been introspected by it, or {c) mental 
events which were owned and could be introspected 
only by a mind which was not then in control of a 



390 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

body, these ought to be counted as part of the contents 
of the Total Unconscious. I propose to call the whole 
mass of such mental events, supposing that they exist, 
the "Total Subconscious Mass". In theory then the 
Total Unconscious will consist of the Total Mnemic 
Mass and the Total Subconscious Mass. The former 
consists of traces and dispositions ; the latter, if it exists 
at all, will consist of literally unconscious mental events. 
If the Total Subconscious Mass exists, and if the mental 
events which belong to it leave traces, these will pre- 
sumably belong to the inaccessible part of the Total 
Mnemic Mass. 

Now if, and only if, the Total Subconscious Mass 
exists, there is a possibility of a Total Unconscious 
Mind and of Special Unconscious Minds. I_do not 
^ know how to define a " mind ", but I think it is evident 
\1 that a thing could not be called a "mind" unless it 
-I had a peculiar kind of content and a peculiar kind of 
' structure. Its content must be the kind of events which 
we call "mental" and observe when we choose to 
introspect. And these mental events must be inter- 
connected in a very peculiar way. It is possible that 
I mental events can exist only as factors in those peculiar 
S complex wholes which we call "minds", but I do not 
I see any very good reason to believe this. It is also 
possible, and much more likely, that nothing but mental 
events can be interconnected in the peculiar way which 
is characteristic of the structure of a mind. Now, 
among the relations which are characteristic of the 
structure of minds, a most important place must be 
given to mnemic relations. It seems essential to the 
notion of a mind that its contents at one moment shall 
be largely dependent on its contents at other moments 
in the remote past, and shall not be completely ex- 
plicable by reference to events within or without it 
which have happened in the iminediate past. I do not 
suggest for an instant that it is a sufficient description 
of a mind to say that it consists of mental events 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 391 

mnemically interconnected ; but there is little doubt 
that this is an essential part of what we understand by 
a "mind". Now, unless we assume a quite new kind 
of causation, the mnemic relations between transient 
mental events depend on the existence of mnemic per- 
sistents. Thus a mind requires a Mnemic Mass. On 
the other hand, a Mnemic Mass by itself does not 
suffice to constitute a mind ; for a mind must contain 
experiences, whilst a Mnemic Mass consists solely of 
traces and dispositions. 

In order to prove the existence of anything that could 
reasonably be called the "Total Unconscious Mind" 
it would therefore be necessary to establish the follow- 
ing points, (i) That there are literally unconscious 
experiences, in the sense defined above. If so, there is 
a Total Subconscious Mass. (2) That these literally 
unconscious experiences leave traces ; i.e.^ that there 
is a part of the Total Mnemic Mass which consists of 
the traces of the Total Subconscious Mass. (3) That, 
given these two indispensable prerequisites, the mental 
events which make up the Total Subconscious Mass 
do in fact have to each other such relations as to form 
a single individual whole analogous to the minds which 
we know by introspection. It seems to me most im- 1" 
portant that people should recognise that the Total 
Unconscious may contain mental events, and may form , 
a very important unity taken as a whole ; and yet that | 
it may be absolutely misleading to call it a "mind". 
At present anyone who thinks that there is reason to 
hold that the Total Unconscious has a unity which 
stretches beyond and between recognised individual 
human beings, is at once liable to be accused of be- 
lieving in a Total Unconscious Mind. It is therefore 
important to point out how much more than this is 
needed to constitute a belief in the Total Unconscious 
Mind. 

Unconscious Sub-groups. It is commonly assumed that 
the Total Unconscious falls quite definitely into well 



392 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

marked sub-groups, one specially associated with one 
human being and another with another. People con- 
stantly talk of "My Unconscious" and ''Your Un- 
conscious " ; and such phraseology would seem to 
imply the belief just mentioned. So we must now 
consider the alleged subdivision of the Total Un- 
conscious into one part which is Smith's, another 
which is Brown's, and a third which is Robinson's. 

We will begin by considering the subdivisions of the 
Total Mnemic Mass. All that we know about traces 
is that certain experiences leave them, and that they 
produce or modify certain later experiences. We might 
therefore classify the contents of the Total Mnemic 
Mass on either of two principles, viz., by their place of 
origin or by the place where they produce their effects. 
Each of these principles can be used in two different 
ways, thus giving four different methods of subdivision. 
We might class together (a) all traces left by experiences 
of Smith's mind; or (d) all traces left by events which 
happened to Smith's body, or (c) all traces and dis- 
positions which produce or modify experiences in 
Smith's mind ; or (d) all traces and dispositions which 
cause or modify behaviour of Smith's body. Now it is 
quite certain that these four equally sensible ways of sub- 
dividing the Total Mnemic Mass will lead to different 
results as soon as we leave completely normal and 
commonplace phenomena. I will now show this in detail. 

(i) If innate dispositions be classified by origin they 
must be assigned to that part of the Total Mnemic Mass 
which belonged to our remote ancestors. For, if such 
dispositions originated in experiences or in bodily pro- 
cesses, it was in those of our remote ancestors and not 
of ourselves that they must have originated. If, on the 
other hand, we classify innate dispositions by the minds 
whose experiences they modify or the bodies whose 
activities they determine, we must assign them to the 
Mnemic Masses of contemporary men. Let us then, 
for the future, confine the discussion to traces. 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 393 

(ii) If there be literally unconscious mental events, 
and we classify traces by origin, we shall often reach a 
different result according as we classify by the mind or 
the body in which they originated. By "Smith's 
body " we mean that body which is most usually con- 
trolled by a mind with certain marked characteristics, 
whom we know as "Smith". Now, even if Smith be 
the most normal person in the world, he is often asleep 
and sometimes in a swoon. At such times the mind 
known as "Smith" is not in control of the organism 
known as "Smith's body", even though it be still 
animating the latter. If stimuli act on the body at such 
times and leave traces, these traces cannot be counted 
as belonging to vSmith's Mnemic Mass, if we mean 
by this the set of traces left by experiences owned by 
Smith's mind. For these stimuli, if they produced 
mental events at all, did not produce experiences which 
were literally owned by Smith's mind. On the other 
hand, if by "Smith's Mnemic Mass" we mean traces 
left by events that happened to Smith's body, these 
traces will belong to Smith's Mnemic Mass. 

(iii) Generally, when a body is not controlled by the 
mind which normally controls it, it is not controlled by 
any mind at all. But in cases of multiple personality 
the same body may be controlled successively by several 
recognisably different minds. The phrase "Smith's 
body " then means the body of which the mind called 
"Smith" is one of the controlling minds. The fact 
that it is called " Smith'' s body " is then largely a matter 
of chance ; it will depend on which of these minds is 
most often in control or was earliest in control. If we 
classify traces by the bodies in which they originate 
there will be one group connected with Smith's body. 
If we classify traces by the minds from whose experiences 
they originate, this Mnemic Mass will split up into 
S/s Mnemic Mass, Sg's Mnemic Mass, and so on. 
This subdivision may very well not be exhaustive ; 
there may be traces, due to events which happened in 



394 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

Smith's body, which were not originated by experiences 
in any of the minds which successively control Smith's 
body. 

(iv) I have so far confined myself to the classification 
of traces by their place of origin ; and have shown that 
those which originate from experiences belonging to a 
certain mind will be contained in, but will not exhaust, 
the group originated by events which happen to the 
body which is said to be controlled by this mind. I 
will now point out that classification by place of origin 
and classification by results will lead to different group- 
ings. Suppose that a certain body B is controlled 
alternately by minds B^ and B.,. An experience which 
is owned by Bj^ may leave a trace which afterwards 
modifies experiences which are owned by B^. If we 
classify by origin, this trace will belong to B^'s Mnemic 
Mass ; if we classify by results, it will belong to Bg's 
Mnemic Mass. It is of course quite possible that a 
trace left by one of B/s experiences may modify the 
later experiences of both B^ and B2. If we classify by 
origin, this trace will belong to the Mnemic Mass of 
B^ and not to that of B2 ; if we classify by results, it 
will be common to the Mnemic Masses of Bi and B2. 
There are examples of such facts as these in Dr Prince's 
account of the Beauchamp case. 

(v) So far it has appeared that, even in abnormal 
cases, all the traces which produce effects in any of the 
minds which control a certain body were started by 
events which happened to tJint body. This breaks 
down in the phenomena of telepathy. So far as I can 
judge from my own experiences with Mrs Leonard and 
from what I have read of the experiences of others, 
telepathy from a sitter to an entranced medium most 
often concerns past experiences of the sitter which he is 
not at the moment thinking about. We must therefore 
suppose that traces of some of the sitter's past experi- 
ences now affect the mind of the medium. From the 
point of view of origin such traces belong to the 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 395 

Mnemic Mass of the sitter and not to that of the 
medium. From the point of view of effects these traces 
are common to the Mnemic Masses of sitter and 
medium ; for the sitter can remember the experience, 
and the medium can have telepathic knowledge of it. 

(vi) Lastly, we have the rare, but reasonably well 
attested phenomenon of "possession"; where the 
normal control of an entranced medium ceases to con- 
trol her body, and the medium begins to speak with 
a quite different voice, gestures, and mannerisms, which 
are said to be recognisably characteristic of a certain 
dead person whom the medium has never met. I have 
witnessed and taken dictaphone records of one alleged 
case of this kind. There is no doubt at all of the 
striking and sudden change which takes place in voice, 
manner, and subject-matter communicated ; but I can- 
not personally vouch for the resemblance of these 
characteristics in the so-called "personal control" to 
those of a certain dead person whom the medium has 
never met. In the experiments in which I took part 
the alleged communicator had been known intimately 
by the other sitter, and not at all by myself; so that I 
had to take his word for the resemblances between the 
"personal control" and the alleged communicator. I 
see, however, no special reason to doubt that the 
phenomenon in question sometimes does happen. Let 
us take it as a hypothesis that it does. The most 
plausible way to explain such phenomena would be to 
suppose that a set of traces, which originated in the 
mind or body of a dead person, can persist for a while 
after the destruction of all that is recognisable of the 
body ; and that this set of traces is capable of affecting 
in a marked way the speech and bodily behaviour of an 
entranced medium under specially favourable condi- 
tions. Such traces would have to be counted as 
belonging to the Mnemic Mass of the dead person, if 
we count by origin ; and as belonging to the Mnemic 
Mass of the medium, if we count by effects. 



396 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

The upshot of this discussion is that the Total Mnemic 
Mass almost certainly does contain important sub- 
groups specially correlated with various recognisably 
different human minds and bodies. But we must 
recognise that, since there are several equally reason- 
able ways of grouping which lead to different results, 
any such phrase as "Smith's Unconscious" is highly 
ambiguous until the precise method of selection adopted 
has been clearly stated. And we must beware of 
assuming either (a) that a/l the contents of the Total 
Mnemic Mass fall into one or other of such groups ; or 
(d) that every pair of such groups are mutually exclusive, 
so as to have no traces in common ; or (c) that there 
may not be important bigger groups which include 
several of those smaller masses which are specially 
correlated with each individual human mind or body. 
For there are abnormal phenomena, which cannot safely 
be ignored, which, between them, cast doubt on all these 
assumptions. 

Co-consciousness. — We know that certain personalities 
claim, not merely to alternate with others in controlling 
a single human organism, but also to be co-conscious 
with the rest. It is no part of my present business to 
discuss the alleged evidence for co-consciousness ; but, 
for the sake of completeness, I must try to define what 
"co-consciousness" would mean. Let us suppose that 
a certain body B is controlled in turn by two personali- 
ties Bj and Bg ; and that B^ claims to be co-conscious 
with Bo- (So far as I know, a claim to reciprocal co- 
consciousness is never made.) This involves making 
one or more of the three following demands on our 
belief, (i) That certain stimuli which act on the body 
B when the mind Eg is in control of it produce mental 
events which are not literally owned by Bg and are 
literally owned by B^. Of such events Bg will not have 
even simultaneous undiscriminating awareness, and B^ 
will have at least this kind of awareness, (ii) That 
certain stimuli which act on the common body when Bg 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 397 

is in control produce either (a) two very similar experi- 
ences, one of which is owned by Bj and the other by B., ; 
or (d) produce a single experience which is owned by 
both of them. If we call these " common experiences ", 
it may be that Bj introspectively discriminates some of 
the common experiences which Bg does not, and con- 
versely, (iii) That B^ has some kind of discrhninating 
awareness of certain mental events which are owned by 
Bg and not by B^ itself. Sally Beauchamp seems to 
have made all these claims. 

I do not think that there is anything wildly paradoxical 
in the notion of co-consciousness as such. No doubt it 
is extremely hard to prove that it is a fact ; but it does 
not seem to me to be antecedently improbable, as many 
people think. We commonly identify the mind which 
sleeps and dreams with the waking mind. In so far 
as this is legitimate it is certain that what I call " my 
mind " exists and has experiences at times when it is 
not controlling my body. Hence there is nothing ex- 
travagantly unfamiliar in the notion of a mind, which 
sometimes controls a body, literally existing and having 
experiences at times when it is not doing this. Of 
course one important difference between a co-conscious 
personality, like Sally, and our minds when asleep and 
dreaming is that, when Sally is not controlling the 
body, another mind is doing so ; whilst, when we are 
asleep and dreaming, no mind is controlling our body. 
But, if this were the only difference, it would not be 
very important. For it is admitted that there are several 
distinct personalities which control the Beauchamp body 
alternately ; and the only question is whether one of 
these persists and goes on having experiences when the 
control of the body has been taken over by one of the 
other personalities. Granted the plurality of person- 
alities, the analogy to the normal dreaming self is 
enough to make this possibility quite intelligible. 

The real difficulties are over the second and third 
claims. We have very little analogy in ordinary life 



398 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

to the alleged common ownership of certain experiences 
by two minds. And we have very little analogy in 
normal life to the alleged direct knowledge by one mind 
of experiences which belong to another mind and not 
to itself. Let us first consider the claim to common 
ownership of certain experiences. I do not think that 
there is any insuperable a priori objection to this, for it 
can easily be reconciled with either of the three standard 
theories of the structure of minds. These are the Pure 
j Ego theory ; the view that a mind is a peculiar com- 
\s,^ I plex of interrelated simultaneous and successive mental 
J- X, >, ^ j events; and the view that the mind is a peculiar com- 
0^ \ (plex of interrelated non-mental objects. On the Pure 
^^ \Ego theory an experience would be a complex consisting 

of a Pure Ego and an object related in some character- 
istic way. Now, if there be Pure Egos at all, I know 
of no reason why there should be one and only one 
of them connected with each human body at a time. 
Suppose that there were two connected with the Beau- 
champ body. To say that Sally and Miss Beauchamp 
had certain experiences in common would simply mean 
that there are certain objects to which the Sally ego and 
the Miss Beauchamp ego stood at the same time in the 
same kind of relation. If the Pure Ego theory be true, 
it must sometimes happen that two Pure Egos, con- 
nected with different bodies, stand at once in the same 
kind of relation to the same object. And, if this be so, 
there is no antecedent improbability that the same thing 
should happen when the two Egos are connected with 
the same body. 

It is still easier to reconcile the claim to common 
experiences with the view that a mind is a complex of 
suitably interrelated mental events. A simple geo- 
metrical analogy will make this perfectly clear. Let us 
represent mental events by points. And let us represent 
the relations which bind a number of mental events into 
a single mind by putting a number of points on the 
same ellipse. A pair of ellipses can cut each other at 



THE TERM "UNCONSCIOUS" 399 

four points. If one of these ellipses represents Sally's 
mind and the other represents Miss Beauchamp's mind, 
the four points in which the two ellipses cut each other 
will represent four experiences which are owned in 
common by Sally and Miss Beauchamp. It is evident 
that the claim to common experiences can be reconciled 
by the same method with the view that the mind is a 
complex of characteristically interrelated objects. We 
have merely to let the points stand for objects, instead 
of letting them stand for experiences ; and the same 
diagram will represent the alleged facts on this theory 
about the structure of the mind. (Of course it is also 
possible that the " common experiences " are really two 
different experiences, one belonging to one mind and 
one to the other, and that their "community" merely 
consists in the fact that they are very much alike and 
are produced simultaneously in the two minds by a 
common external cause. On that hypothesis there is 
even less difficulty in admitting the possibility of 
"common experiences".) 

It remains to consider Sally's claim to some kind of 
direct knowledge of experiences which were owned by 
other personalities and not by herself. Really, she pro- 
fessed to have two very different kinds of knowledge of 
such experiences, both of which fall under the present 
heading, {a) She alleged that she could get to know 
isolated experiences of the personality B^ by a special 
method which resembled crystal-gazing. Of the rest of 
B^'s experiences she was wholly ignorant, {b) On the 
other hand, Sally claimed to be aware, without any 
special effort except that of attention, of whole masses 
of experience which belonged to Miss Beauchamp and 
not to herself. Thus, when Miss Beauchamp was 
ill and somewhat light-headed, Sally claims to have 
been aware of illusory perceptions in Miss Beauchamp's 
mind and of the fear which these engendered in Miss 
Beauchamp. Sally herself did not share the illusions or 
the fear, though she was aware of the objects in the 



400 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

room, which Miss Beauchamp was misperceiving and 
consequently fearing. 

Now I feel no kind of a priori difficulty about the 
first kind of knowledge. It is closely analogous to 
ordinary telepathy ; and, on her own showing, Sally 
was throwing herself into a state which is known to be 
favourable to telepathy when she got this kind of know- 
ledge of isolated events in B/s mental history. There 
is no doubt of the reality of telepathy between minds 
which animate differe?it bodies ; and it is easier rather 
than harder to conceive of telepathy taking place between 
two minds which animate the same body. The real 
difficulty is over the second kind of alleged knowledge. 
With us introspective discrimination can be applied 
only to mental events which we own and of which we 
have simultaneous undiscriminating awareness. Sally's 
claim practically amounts to asserting that she could 
introspect experiences which she did not own and which 
Miss Beauchamp did own, just as we can introspect our 
own experiences. As we have no analogy to this power 
anywhere in normal mental life, it must be regarded as 
antecedently improbable that it exists ; though this does 
not of course prove that it cannot exist. 

The upshot of the matter is that, whether there be 
enough empirical evidence for co-consciousness or not, 
it ought not to be dismissed a priori as antecedently 
too improbable to be worth consideration. Three out 
of four of Sally's claims have enough analogy to 
admitted facts, and are easy enough to reconcile with 
current theories, to give them a reasonable antecedent 
probability. 



CHAPTER IX 

The Alleged Evidence for Unconscious Mental 
Events and Processes 

In the last chapter I pointed out a number of non-literal 
senses of the phrase " unconscious mental events", and 
I tried to give a sufficient description of literally un- 
conscious mental events. Now there are a number of 
well-known facts, and of familiar arguments based on 
these facts, which profess to prove the existence of 
''unconscious mental events". Owing to the ambiguities 
of this phrase it is uncertain in what sense, if any, these 
arguments do prove the existence of "unconscious 
mental events". In particular it is uncertain whether 
they have any tendency to prove the existence of 
Tiferally unconscious mental events, as described by us 
in the last Chapter. In the present Chapter I propose 
"to consider some of the most familiar of these arguments, 
and to discuss what precisely, if anything, they prove. 

Before I begin I want to point out the difference 
between a sufficient description of an entity and a test 
for the existence of such an entity. We give a sufficient 
description of anything when we state a set of properties 
which together characterise it and do not all char- 
acterise anything else. But it may be that some of 
the properties mentioned in a sufficient description 
are such that it is difficult or impossible to tell by 
direct inspection whether they be or be not present 
in a particular case. Now it may be that there are 
other properties whose presence or absence can be 
readily detected by direct inspection. And it may be 
that their presence or absence involves the presence or 

^01 2 C 



402 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

absence respectively of those features in the sufficient 
description which cannot be directly inspected. If so, 
these properties constitute a test for the entity to which 
the description applies. Now it is evidently difficult or 
impossible to know by direct inspection or memory 
whether we formerly had an experience which we could 
not at the time have introspectively discriminated. The 
only test that we can well apply is certain facts about 
our present experiences, which are supposed to involve 
the past existence of an experience which we could not 
at the time have introspectively discriminated. Such 
tests always assume the truth of some proposition con- 
necting the diagnostic properties with those mentioned 
in the description ; and any doubt about these proposi- 
tions throws doubt on the test. 

Arguments for " Unconscious Sensations." There are 
certain facts, and certain arguments from them, which 
have been used since Leibniz's time to prove the 
existence of "unconscious sensations". Arguments 
about the roaring of the sea, the stopping of clocks, and 
so on, are what I have in mind ; and they will be 
familiar to every one. Now, there are certain general 
remarks which apply to all such arguments, and throw 
grave doubt on their relevance to prove the existence of 
unconscious mental events. 

It will be admitted, I think, that the people who have 
used these arguments have not as a rule drawn any 
clear distinction between sensations and sensa. If they 
have done this, they have, nevertheless, generally 
assumed that sensa are themselves mental events and 
experiences of the person who senses them. And, even 
if they have distinguished between sensations and 
sensa, and have denied that sensa are mental events 
owned by the person who senses them, they have 
generally held that sensa are existentially dependent on 
being sensed by a mind. I will remind the reader that 
by a " sensum " I mean such an event as a coloured 



UNCONSCIOUS MENTAL EVENTS 



40; 



patch or flash in a visual field, or a noise. And by a 
''^' sensation" I mean sucH a situation" as would be ex- 
pressed by saying: "This noise is being sensed". 
~Now"sensa are nearly always outstanding parts or 
differentiations of spatially larger wholes, which I call 
"sense-fields". These in turn are generally temporal 
parts of longer strands of history which I call "special 
sense-histories". E.g., the sensum which is a certain 
coloured flash is generally an outstanding feature of a 
visual sense-field which is a sensibly coloured con- 
tinuum of coexisting visual sensa. And this visual 
sense-field is generally a short slice of a longer whole 
which is a visual sense-history. The reader will find a 
more elaborate discussion of these conceptions in Part II 
of my Scientific Thought. Now, what the arguments 
under discussion prove, if they prove anything, is the 
existence of undiscriminated or undiscriminable sensa 
in a sense-field. For instance, the argument about 
the roaring of the sea tries to show that some auditory 
fields which seem quite homogeneous must yet be 
highly differentiated into distinct but undiscriminable 
noises. Now the relevance of such a conclusion to the 
existence of unconscious mental events depends very 
much on the view that we take about the nature of 
sensa. 

(i) If we hold that sensa are themselves mental events, 
an undiscriminable sensum will be, ipso facto, an undis- 
criminable mental event, i.e., an unconscious mental 
event as described above. But, personally, I see no 
ground whatever for thinking that a noise or a coloured 
patch in a visual field is itself a mental event, though 
of course the total situation which contains such an 
object as its objective constituent is a mental event. 

(2) It might be held that noises and coloured patches, 
though not themselves mental events, can exist only as 
objective constituents of mental situations. This is a 
more plausible view, though I do not think that there 
are any conclusive arguments for it. Now it might 



¥ 



404 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

seem that, if this were true, the existence of undis- 
criminable sensa would involve the existence of un- 
discriminable, and therefore unconscious, mental events. 
This, however, need be true only in a very trivial 
sense. Even if no sensum can exist except as objective 
constituent of a situation which also contains a non- 
objective constituent suitably related to the sensum, it 
does not follow that each different sensum needs a 
different non-objective factor and a different particular 
instance of this relation. Sensa are simply differ- 
entiated parts of a larger whole of the same kind as 
themselves, viz., a sense-field. If this exists, all its 
differentiations exist ipso facto. If this whole be sensed, 
all its differentiations are thereby sensed ; just as the 
fact that Cambridge is north of London involves the 
fact that Trinity College is north of London. Thus, 
even if all sensa have to be sensed in order to exist, 
and even if there be undiscriminable sensa, there is no 
need to assume any independent mental event beside 
the sensation of the whole field. And this is a literally 
conscious experience, since it would be perfectly easy 
to discriminate it introspectively if we wanted to. 

(3) Lastly, if, as I think most likely, sensa be neither 
themselves mental events nor dependent for their exist- 
ence on being objective constituents of mental events, 
it is plain that the existence of undiscriminable sensa 
would have no tendency to prove the existence of un- 
discriminable experiences. We can say at once then that 
the arguments under consideration are wholly irrelevant 
to the existence of literally unconscious experiences, 
unless we accept the extreme view that noises, coloured 
patches, etc., are themselves mental events. It may, 
however, be of interest to glance at the arguments in 
order to see whether they prove the existence even of 
undiscriminable sensa. 

Arguments for Undiscriminable Sensa. (i) Let us 
begin with the familiar argument about the stopping 
clock. It is a fact that we may be sitting in a room in 



UNCONSCIOUS MENTAL EVENTS 405 

which a clock is ticking ; and that, if we be suddenly 
asked by ourselves or by another whether the clock has 
been going, we cannot at once answer. But, if the 
clock should stop, we are liable to look up and say : 
"Why, the clock has stopped!" This is alleged to 
prove that we must have been "sub-consciously hear- 
ing" the ticking of the clock. What do such facts 
really suggest? 

(i) The negative part, the fact that we could not say 
off-hand whether the clock has been going or not, 
suggests that we did not in fact discriminate the ticking 
noise if it did in fact form part of our earlier auditory 
fields. If we had been discriminating it, we should 
almost certainly be able to remember it. (ii) The 
positive part, the fact that, when the clock does stop, 
our attention is arrested, does suggest that there is 
some difference or other between our total sense-field 
just before and just after the stoppage. Now, what the 
argument would need to prove is the following two 
propositions, (i) That our earlier fields did contain 
ticking noises ; and (ii) that these ticking noises were 
not merely undiscriminated but were undiscriminable. 
Now it seems to me that the argument fails on both 
counts. If there were ticking noises in our earlier fields, 
there seems to be no reason to suppose that we could not 
have discriminated them if we had tried. All that we 
can say is that we did not in fact discriminate them, 
because we were attending to other things such as an 
interesting book. But it does not seem to me that the 
argument proves that there were ticking noises at all 
in our earlier auditory fields. The fact that we notice 
a difference when the clock stops needs for its explana- 
tion no other assumption except that, while the clock 
is going, it produces some modification somewhere in 
our total sense-object, which ceases when the clock 
stops. This modification might not be auditory at all ; \ 
it might be simply a vague toning of our general bodily J 
feeling. And, even if it be auditory, it need not take 



4o6 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

the form of a ticking noise. It might be simply a 
vague toning of our auditory field as a whole. 

It might be objected that, if this be all, why do we 
at once associate the change with the clock and say that 
it has stopped? To this I answer in the first place that 
it is doubtful whether we do this as a rule. It seems 
more accurate to say that we notice a difference, wonder 
what it is, look about, and finally fix the responsibility 
on the clock. But, even if we do sometimes immedi- 
ately attribute the change to the stopping of the clock, 
this can be explained easily without assuming that there 
have been undiscriminated ticking noises in our earlier 
auditory fields. Suppose (to take the least favourable 
case) that the ticking of the clock simply produced a vague 
modification of our general bodil}^ feeling. This modi- 
fication must often in the past have been accompanied 
by auditory fields in which ticking existed and was dis- 
criminated and ascribed to the clock. Hence this kind 
of modification will have come to suggest by association 
ticking and clocks. Its cessation would therefore tend 
to make us look at the clock and ascribe the change 
to it. Thus, while I have no a priori objection to the 
possibility of undiscriminable sensa in sense-fields which 
we sense as wholes, I do not think that this argument 
has any strong tendency to prove that they exist. 

(2) I will now consider the argument about the waves 
of the sea. I will put it in a perfectly general form. 
When a number of similar physical stimuli are acting 
together we may be aware of a perfectly noticeable 
and characteristic sensum. When one of them acts 
separately, or only a few of them together, we may 
be unable to notice any sensum of the kind. It is 
argued that each of them must produce its own special 
sensum, and that each of these sensa must be undis- 
criminable. 

This is an atrocious argument. It assumes that the 
effect of a complex cause must be the sum of the effects 
which each of its parts would produce if acting separ- 



UNCONSCIOUS MENTAL EVENTS 407 

ately. As a general proposition about causation there 
is nothing to be said for this. A very simple illustration 
of its folly is the following. The hearing of a certain 
note is physically conditioned by a series of compres- 
sions and rarefactions in the air which follow each other 
with a certain frequency. Now each separate compres- 
sion or rarefaction is physically a part of this total cause. 
Will it be said that the note heard is the sum of the 
undiscriminable " notes " due to each separate compres- 
sion and rarefaction? And, if so, how will you account 
for the fact that differences of note depend on the 
characteristic intervals between successive compressions 
or rarefactions? 

Even if we accepted this general principle about 
causation, it would be difficult to appl}^ it to the case 
of sounds. Sounds have intensive magnitude, and it is 
not easy to attach a meaning to the statement that loud 
sounds are the sum of a number of coexisting soft 
sounds. It might be said, however, that a meaning 
can be given to this statement by considering the case 
of an orchestra ; and that this example favours the 
original argument. Let us consider this point. It is 
true that, in listening to an orchestra, I do not as a rule 
discriminate the sounds due to the various instruments. 
But I can do so, if I choose to attend. Here of course 
each of the instruments would produce a noticeable and 
characteristic sound if played by itself. Now it might 
be said: "The sound of the orchestra is the sum of 
the sounds of the separate instruments ; and these 
separate sounds can be discriminated, although as a 
rule they are not. When we say that the noise pro- 
duced by a sufficient number of separately inaudible 
stimuli is the sum of the undiscriminable noises due to 
each of them, we mean that the total noise is related to 
these undiscriminable noises as the sound of an orchestra 
is related to the discriminable sounds made by the 
separate instruments. And this is intelligible ; because, 
in the case of the orchestra, you can both hear the whole 



4o8 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

and discriminate the parts." I think that it would be 
better to drop the word "sum" and to substitute the 
word "pattern". The sound of the orchestra might 
be called a "pattern woven from" the sounds of the 
separate instruments ; and, in this case, we can attend 
either to the pattern as a whole or to the elements out 
of which it is woven. The argument would then ask 
us to believe that a loud discriminable noise, like the 
roaring of the sea, is a pattern woven out of the many 
soft and separately indiscriminable noises due to the 
separate waves. In this case, it would be said, you can 
attend to the pattern as a whole but not to the elements 
out of which it is woven. Put in this way the argument 
is at least intelligible. An intermediate case between 
that contemplated by the argument and the example of 
the orchestra would be the following. We might have 
a number of precisely similar stimuli, e.g., fog-horns, 
each of which separately would give rise to a noticeable 
sound. If they were to blow together we should be 
aware of a louder but qualitatively similar sound. Now, 
can we regard the noise which we hear when all these 
fog-horns are blowing together as a pattern woven out 
of the sounds which each of the fog-horns would make 
if it were blowing separately, just as we regard a sym- 
phony as a pattern woven out of the qualitatively dis- 
similar sounds of the separate instruments? If so, we 
might fairly argue by analogy that the sound of the 
sea is a pattern woven from a number of qualitatively 
similar but separately inaudible sounds due to each wave. 
The difficulty in the way of this argument is the 
following. It seems to me very doubtful whether the 
noises due to the separate fog-horns do exist within the 
noise made by all the fog-horns together. I do not 
think that we could discriminate these supposed separate 
noises, as we can discriminate the noises of the various 
instruments in the symphony. And this is certainly 
not because of their intrinsic faintness, since any one 
of them could be heard with perfect ease if it happened 



UNCONSCIOUS MENTAL EVENTS 409 

alone or against a qualitatively different background of 
sound. Thus it seems uncertain whether we have here 
an instance of a loud noise being a pattern woven out 
of a number of softer noises ; for it is doubtful whether 
the softer noises which would be made by each fog- 
horn if it were blowing separately exist literally within 
the louder noise made by all the fog-horns blowing 
together. It seems just as reasonable to hold that 
we have here a homogeneous auditory field, within 
which no sensa are discriminable because there are 
none to be discriminated. If this be so, the argument 
by analogy to prove that the noise of the sea is a 
pattern woven out of the faint undiscriminable sounds 
due to each wave, breaks down. Once again I have 
no a priori objection to the conclusion ; I maintain only 
that the argument fails to prove it. 

(3) Before ending the present subsection I wish to 
point out the complete irrelevance of Stumpfs Argu- 
ment for the present purpose. Stumpfs argument is 
perfectly valid ; and it is quite true that it does not, as 
some of its critics have alleged, depend upon doubtful 
assumptions about the connexion between sensations 
and physiological stimuli. Stumpf might (and, for all 
I know, does) use his argument to the angels in 
Heaven, who have no bodies. It proves with almost 
complete certainty that some pairs of sensa, which 
seem to us to be exactly alike in quality or intensity, 
must really differ in these respects. But, even if 
sensa be experiences, no one has ever supposed that 
the qualities or intensities of sensa or the relations 
of identity or difference between their qualities or 
intensities are experiences. The unlikeness of two 
auditory sensa is not a third auditory sensum or any 
kind of sensum ; it is a relation. Stumpfs argument 
merely establishes the fact that we can make mistakes 
about the relations of qualitative or intensive likeness 
between sensa which we sense ; just as we may make 
mistakes about the likeness or unlikeness of anything 



410 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

else. This has no tendency to prove the existence of 
unconscious mental events in any sense whatever ; ex- 
cept on two assumptions, one of which is probably 
false and the other of which is absurd. The first of 
these is that sensa are experiences owned by the mind 
which senses them. The second is that, in some sense, 
we must, ipso facto, know all the qualities and relations 
of our experiences merely because they are ours. 
Stumpf shows that I often judge sensum A to be 
exactly like sensum B, when in fact they cannot be 
exactly alike. On the two assumptions just stated I 
must in some sense know that A and B are not exactly 
alike if they be not so in fact. Thus, with these two 
assumptions, Stumpf's argument would prove the exist- 
ence of unconscious knowledge about the relations of 
sensa, which conflicts with my co7iscious beliefs about the 
same subject. It would not prove the existence of un- 
conscious sensations or of undiscriminated sensa, even on 
these assumptions. And, whatever one may think of 
the first assumption, the second is too silly to merit a 
moment's consideration. 

Arguments for " Unconscious Perceptions ". We can 
sometimes be pretty sure, on reflexion that, z/"we perceived 
a certain object on a certain occasion, this perception 
must have been unconscious, at least relatively to us. 
Now the circumstances may have been such that it would 
be surprising if no preception had existed at the time. 
Finally, we may afterwards have dreams, or say and do 
things in ordinary life or under hypnosis or psycho- 
analysis, which would be most naturally explained by 
the supposition that a perception did exist at the time. 
It will be noticed that, in order to establish the existence 
of an unconscious, perception of a certain thing at a 
certain time, we must prove two propositions, one 
positive and the other negative : (i) We must prove 
that a perception of this thing did exist at this time ; and 
(ii) we must prove that the person who might have been 



UNCONSCIOUS MENTAL EVENTS 411 

expected to own this perception could not have detected 
it by introspection at the time, even if he had tried. To 
prove the first point there are two main lines of argu- 
ment. The first is that the general situation at the time 
was such that a perception of this thing might reason- 
ably have been expected to happen then. The second 
is that some of the later experiences and acts of the 
person are such as would be likely to follow if he had 
perceived this thing, and not otherwise. To prove the 
second point we have again two main lines of argument. 
The first is that the person, not only does not remember 
^erceivi'nor the thing, but also remembers not perceivmg \t. 
(I need scarcely say that these are two very different 
experiences.) The second is that some of the later ex- 
periences and acts of the person are such as would be 
likely to follow if he had not perceived the thing, and 
would be unlikely to follow if he had perceived it. 

A simple example would be one that we have already 
used, viz., looking for something, failing to find it, and 
yet discovering afterwards that it had been staring one 
in the face in the very drawer in which we have been 
looking. The argument would then run as follows : 
" If I had recognised at the time that I was perceiving 
the object, I should certainly have found it. As I did 
not find it, it seems reasonable to suppose either that I 
was not perceiving it at all or that, if I was, this per- 
ception was not noticed by me. Now, if it existed, it is 
hardly likely to have escaped my notice by mere in- 
advertence ; for this was the very experience which I 
was wanting and expecting at the time. Hence it seems 
probable that, if there was a perception of this object, 
and if it was owned by me, it was for some reason incap- 
able of being introspectively discriminated by me at the 
time. Therefore, we must say either that there was no 
perception of the object at all ; or that it was not owned 
by me ; or that it was owned by me but could not have 
been introspectively discriminated by me at the time. 
If it was an experience of mine at all it must, therefore, 



412 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

have been a literally unconscious experience." The 
argument might then continue as follows : " The object 
was in such a position that light from it must have 
affected the central part of my retina ; and, therefore, it 
is very unlikely that it did not produce a perceptual 
experience at alL" Lastly, it might be that in some 
cases we could add to this presumption something further 
of the following kind : " Last night I dreamed of the 
object in a certain place in the drawer ; and when I 
went this morning and looked again there it was." Or 
again: "I was hypnotised afterwards and told the 
hypnotist where this object was, and he found it there." 
We should then have a pretty strong case, superficially 
at any rate, for the view that I had had a literally un- 
conscious perception of this object when I was looking 
for it in the drawer. 

Let us now consider whether this case be really so 
strong as it seems at first sight. I think we may admit 
that such arguments make it highly probable that, if a 
perception existed at the time, it was literally unconscious 
relatively to the mind which was then controlling the 
body at any rate. So we may confine ourselves to the 
question : "Is there any reason to believe that a per- 
ception of this object existed at all ? " The evidence 
which is given for an affirmative answer to this question 
is derived, as I have said, from the later experiences or 
actions of the observer and from the general nature of 
the situation in which he was placed at the time. That is, 
we know that most people in the situation in which this 
man was placed would have had a certain kind of experi- 
ence, and so we think it likely that he too must have had 
experience of this kind. And, again, we know that people 
can generally remember and be affected only by what 
they have already perceived. So when the man re- 
members a certain past event under hypnotism, or when 
he acts in ordinary life as if he had perceived this event, 
we assume that he must have perceived it. Now these 
are of course simply arguments from analogy ; and. 



UNCONSCIOUS MENTAL EVENTS 413 

if the facts can be explained equally well in other ways, 
they do not carry much weight. Can the facts be 
explained equally well in other ways? 

In the first place, we must notice that the occurrence of 
an experience in the past is never a sufficient, even if it 
be a necessary, condition for the occurrence of a memory 
in the present. No memory will arise unless a trace, 
whatever that may be, has been left. Now, if a trace 
exists, it seems reasonable to suppose that it could give 
rise to mnemic phenomena even if no experience had 
accompanied its formation. Whether you choose to call 
any of these mnemic phenomena "memories" or not 
will be simply a matter of definition. I, therefore, suggest 
the following hypothesis as a possible explanation of the 
facts with which we are at present dealing. When stimuli 
act on our nerves they usually give rise to two results, 
viz., an experience E and a trace T. But, under certain 
circumstances, only one of these results may happen ; 
e.g., a trace may be formed, but no mental event may 
accompany its formation. If this trace be afterwards 
excited, the resulting experience will be exactly or very 
much like a memory of the experience E which normally 
accompanies the formation of the trace T. And, again, 
the resulting behaviour will be very much like that 
which normally follows from an experience such as E. 
Since the stimulus may thus have two alternative effects, 
it is reasonable to suppose that the total cause is of the 
form Sxy, where S is the stimulus. Here S.r produces 
an experience, and Sjf produces a trace. We must 
suppose that the two factors x and j' generally co-operate 
with each other, but that under certain circumstances 
X is inhibited. We then get a trace formed, but no 
mental event accompanies it. It is of course theo- 
retically possible that, under other circumstances, y 
is inhibited. We should then get a mental event, but 
no trace would be left. Such mental events, if they 
exist, could never be remembered by any means, and 
could produce no mnemic effects. It seems to me that 



414 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

this simple and quite plausible hypothesis accounts for 
the facts perfectly well without the assumption of un- 
conscious perceptions. 

I will now go a little more into detail. We must 
remember that the perception of a certain physical 
object involves sensation together with at least two 
other factors. In addition to sensing a certain field and 
its contents we must select a certain sensum from the 
rest of its sense-field ; and in addition to this we must 
recognise this sensum as an appearance of a certain 
physical object. We might, therefore, fail to find a 
certain object which we were looking for, and which 
was staring us in the face, for one of three reasons. 
(a) Because it was producing no sensible appearance in 
our sense-field ; or {d) because the sensible appearance 
which it was producing was not selected and dis- 
criminated from the rest of the field ; or (<:) because 
this particular sensum was not recognised by us at the 
time as an appearance of the physical object for which 
we were looking. I think it likely that the second and 
third possibilities are so closely connected as to form in 
practice only a single alternative. What I mean is 
this. I think that we select and discriminate certain 
sensa from the rest of the field largely because they 
represent certain physical objects to us. If a stimulus 
does excite certain traces of past experiences we both 
discriminate the sensum which it produces and take 
this sensum as an appearance of a certain physical 
object. If it fails to excite these traces we do not as a 
rule select and discriminate this sensum from the rest 
of the field ; and a fortiori ^o not take it as an appear- 
ance of any particular physical object. 

It seems to me most likely that in the cases under 
discussion there really was a sensum in the visual field, 
which was in fact an appearance of the object that we 
were seeking ; but that for some reason the traces which 
would usually be excited under such conditions were 
not excited, or, if they were, failed to produce their 



UNCONSCIOUS MENTAL EVENTS 415 

normal effect. This sensum was therefore not selected 
and discriminated from the rest of the field, and was 
not recognised as an appearance of the object for which 
we were looking. If this be so, there was no 7cnconscious 
perception, for there was no perception at all. But there 
was an undiscriminated, and at the time probably un- 
discriminable, sensum in my visual field. This leaves 
a trace ; and afterwards in dreams or under hypnosis 
the excitement of this trace excites those which failed to 
operate on the former occasion. We may then get 
what is, for all practical purposes, a memory of the 
physical object which we failed to perceive when we 
were searching for it. Or other mnemic results may 
follow which usually follow from actual perception. 
The psycho-analysts have many things of great interest 
to tell us about the emotional and conative factors 
which sometimes prevent sensations from developing 
into perceptions by preventing the usual traces from 
being excited or by inhibiting the usual results of such 
excitement. 

The conclusion of the matter is that, while I have no 
a priori objection to the existence of literally unconscious 
perceptions, I do not think that the facts which have 
been brought forward to prove their existence are 
adequate for the purpose. These facts can be explained 
quite as well by another hypothesis which is at least 
as plausible as the hypothesis of literally unconscious 
perceptions. 

Arguments for "Unconscious Emotions." As an 
example of the facts which have been brought forward 
to prove the existence of literally unconscious emotions 
I will take the case of Livingstone and the lion. 
Livingstone tells us that he remembers that he felt 
neither fear nor pain while he was in the jaws of a lion 
and had given himself up for lost. There are other 
cases where men have been in extremely dangerous 
situations, and remember that they felt no fear at the 



4i6 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

time. Yet afterwards they dream of the incident, and 
the dream is accompanied by fear amounting to terror. 
It is reasonable to suppose that in such cases, if the 
emotion of fear existed at all while the incident was 
taking place, it must have been literally unconscious 
relatively to the agent at any rate. If Livingstone's 
memory be correct he looked at the time for the feeling 
of fear, which he expected to find, and was surprised to 
notice that it was absent. It is, therefore, reasonable to 
suppose that, if this emotion existed at all at the time 
it was not merely unnoticed by Livingstone but was 
unnoticeable by him at the time. This argument would 
not apply so strongly to men who have saved them- 
selves in dangerous situations by their own efforts and 
resource. They must have been attending intently to 
external situations with which they had to deal promptly 
and effectively. They can, therefore, hardly have been 
attending at the time to their own emotions. When 
they say afterwards that they "remember not feeling 
fear " it would probably be much more accurate to say 
that they '*do not remember feeling fear", which is a 
very different matter. In such cases the emotion, if it 
existed at all, was no doubt undiscriminated ; but there 
seems no good reason to think that it was undiscrimin- 
able. But this explanation will not cover a case like 
Livingstone's ; for he had ceased to struggle and had 
given himself up for lost. 

The evidence for supposing that an emotion of fear 
existed is twofold. In the first place, the situation was 
such that a man might be expected to feel fear in it. 
Secondly, the dreams and other later experiences of the 
agent are such as might be expected to be consequent 
on a past feeling of fear. Now this argument can be 
dealt with in precisely the same way as the argument 
for unconscious perceptions. I do not think that there 
is the least need to suppose that there was an emo- 
tional experience at all in Livingstone's case, or even 
that a trace was produced of the kind which an 



UNCONSCIOUS MENTAL EVENTS 417 

emotional experience generally leaves. All that we 
need to suppose is that the perception of the situation 
left an ordinary cognitive trace, and that the emotional 
experience which would normally accompany such a 
perception was inhibited. I take it that, although the 
external situation was such as normally produces pain 
and fear, the internal state of Livingstone's body at the 
time was abnormal. The result was that a perception 
arose as usual, but the emotion which would have 
accompanied it if the body had been in a normal state 
did not arise. This perception left a trace, as we know 
from the fact that Livingstone was able to remember 
perceiving the situation. When the patient, at some 
later date, goes to sleep and dreams this trace is excited 
and produces a dream of the original situation. The 
abnormal bodily state which inhibited pain and fear on 
the first occasion has now ceased. Hence the dream is 
accompanied by the sort of emotion which would 
normally have accompanied the original perception. 
There is therefore not the least need to suppose either 
that there was an emotion when the dangerous situation 
was being lived through, or that an " emotional trace" 
was left though no emotion existed. The cogiiitive 
trace, which was certainly left, is quite adequate to 
explain all the subsequent phenomena, both cognitive 
and emotional. 

Arguments for "Unconscious Mental Processes." We 

have so far considered the evidence which has been 
brought forward to prove directly the existence of 
literally unconscious mental events, such as sensations, 
perceptions, and emotions. We have found this 
evidence to be quite inconclusive. But we must now 
introduce a distinction between mental events a.nd mental 
processes. I do not pretend that this is an absolutely 
sharp distinction ; but I think that a few examples will 
make clear what I have in mind by it. When I 
deliberately consider a number of possible alternative 

2 D 



4i8 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

courses of action, weigh up the pros and cons of each, 
and finally decide on one of them to the exclusion of 
the rest, the whole long event may be called a conscious 
"mental process". Similarly, when I follow, or make 
up for myself, a long chain of reasoning the whole long 
event may be called a conscious "mental process," On 
the other hand, seeing a dog and feeling frightened of 
it would hardly be called a mental "process", though 
it is a mental "event". And feeling a twinge of 
toothache would hardly be called a " mental process ", 
though it is a mental "event". We might roughly 
define a "mental process" as a long mental event 
which has a set of successive parts each of which is a 
mental event of a different kind from the whole. And 
the mental process is characterised by the nature of 
these parts and by the characteristic relations between 
them within the whole long event. For instance, a 
process of reasoning is a mental event which is divisible 
into three successive parts, none of which is itself a 
process of reasoning ; viz. {a) contemplating and 
accepting the premises, [b) noticing that they logically 
entail a certain conclusion, and [c) passing from the 
state of merely contemplating this conclusion to 
believing it with a feeling of being justified in doing 
so. (Very likely the analysis could be carried further, 
but this is enough to illustrate my meaning.) Now it 
might be that there is good direct evidence for the 
existence of unconscious mental processes^ though there 
is no good direct evidence for the existence of un- 
conscious mental events which are not, in this sense, 
processes. If this were so, there would be good 
indirect evidence for the existence of certain unconscious 
mental events which are not processes. For a mental 
process is a mental event having a set of successive 
parts which are mental events and not mental processes. 
We must therefore consider the alleged evidence for the 
existence of unconscious mental processes. We shall 
find that this is a somewhat complicated business, 



UNCONSCIOUS MENTAL EVENTS 419 

which cannot be completed in this Chapter. It will 
lead us up to the question of the real nature of traces 
and dispositions, which I reserve for the next Chapter. 

The " Unconscious^^ Factor in Conscious Mental Processes. 
I think that it is best not to attack the question of the 
evidence for unconscious mental processes directly, but 
to make a ditour by way of the unconscious factors in 
admittedly conscious mental processes. Suppose we 
consider an ordinary process of conscious desire which a 
man follows up to a successful result. When we analyse 
this we profess to find a process in which the man sets 
a certain end before himself, feels attracted by the 
prospect of it, chooses such and such means in order 
to get it, and so on. But how little of this actually is 
introspected or is introspectible ! While the man is 
busy carrying out his purpose it is doubtful whether he 
has any literally conscious idea of the end or any 
literally conscious feeling of attraction towards it except 
for short spells separated by long intervals. Most of 
the time he is thinking of some minute detail in the 
means which he is using, and is not thinking about the 
end at all. Yet we say that idea of the end is constantly 
present, guiding his choice of means ; and we say 
that the attraction which he feels for this end is a 
factor which is constantly present, making the agent 
persevere and surmount the obstacles which from time to 
time arise. Moreover, a conative process is often laid 
aside for a time, and then taken up again at the point 
where it was left ; and this may go on for years. The 
writing of this book has been a conscious conative pro- 
cess which has, in a sense been going on for the last 
two years. But in every day of this period there have 
been long intervals during which introspection would dis- 
cover nothing relevant to this conative process. Now 
here we are dealing with nothing odd or abnormal. I 
think that such examples show that we cannot identify 
the most normal conscious conation with those scrappy 
and separated bits of experience of which we have simul- 



420 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

taneous undiscriminating awareness, and which we could 
no doubt introspectively discriminate if we tried. The 
fullest list of all these fragments with their observable 
interrelations is no more what we mean by a "conscious 
conation " than the set of interrelated sensa by which 
my table from time to time appears to me is what I 
mean by "my table". We may say that, just as the 
most ordinary statement about a physical object which 
I perceive goes beyond the sensa which I sense, so the' 
most ordinary statement about a conscious " mental pro- 
cess " of mine goes beyond the scrappy and jumbled bits 
of experience which I could introspectively discriminate. 
It seems to me then that there is much more analogy 
between my perceptual knowledge of external physical 
things and processes and my introspective knowledge 
of my own mind and my conscious mental processes 
than is commonly admitted. Poor Locke and Kant 
have been abused like pickpockets for talking about 
"internal perception" and comparing it to "external 
perception ". I believe that they were substantially 
correct ; and that their main mistake was that they 
failed to draw certain very necessary distinctions which 
really make the analogy stronger than they thought. 
In ordinary sense-perception we have to distinguish 
between perception itself and sensation on which it is 
based. My perception of a chair is based on my sensa- 
tions of certain interrelated sensa which are appearances 
of it ; and I should not say that I perceived the chair 
unless I did from time to time sense such sensa. But 
I mean something more by the "chair" than all these 
sensa ; and I mean something more by " perceiving the 
chair " than just sensing these sensa. The notion of the 
chair contains as an essential factor the notion of a per- 
sistent something which joins up the various isolated 
" chair-sensa" which I sense, and which shows itself 
to me partially and imperfectly through them. Now it 
seems to me that we must draw a similar distinction in 
dealing with our introspective knowledge of our own 



UNCONSCIOUS MENTAL EVENTS 421 

conscious mental processes. In sense-perception we 
distinguished between {a) sensing {d) selecting and 
(c) using a sensed and selected sensum for perceiving. 
I think that we must draw a similar set of distinctions 
in the case of our knowledge of our own mental 
processes. We must distinguish (a) undiscriminating 
simultaneous awareness of mental events (d) introspec- 
tive discrimination of certain particular mental events, 
and (c) what I will call "introspective perception" of 
a conscious mental process by means of certain mental 
events which I have introspectively discriminated. My 
introspective perception of an ordinary conscious mental 
process, such as a conation, is based on certain inter- 
connected experiences of which I do have simultaneous 
undiscriminating awareness and some of which I may 
introspectively discriminate. I should not say that I 
" introspectively perceived " this conation of mine unless 
I were introspectively aware of these interconnected bits 
of experience. Nevertheless, I mean something more 
by my conation than these bits of experience ; and I 
mean something more by " introspectively perceiving " 
it than just having simultaneous undiscriminating 
awareness of these bits of experience or just introspec- 
tively discriminating them. The notion of a conation 
involves as an essential factor the notion of a persistent 
something which joins up these relatively isolated bits 
of experience and reveals itself partially and imperfectly 
to me through them. 

I prefer not to call my "perception" of my own 
mental processes "internal perception", because this 
name seems to me to apply better to the perceptual 
knowledge which I have of certain physiological pro- 
cesses in my own body by means of bodily sensations, 
such as headache or toothache. I prefe ji_tQ-di3dd£_ 
Perceptio n in to_ ^^/Jl ,..Ijltrqs£ectij[ej__aJid_4<^)_5.eB.suojJS ; 
and then to divide Sensuous Perception into (i) External 
and (ii) Internal. I shall say that the introspectible 
experiences on which I base my introspective perception 




422 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

of a conscious mental process are "appearances" of the 
latter to me. This word is to have no implication of 
delusiveness. At present I do not wish to deny the 
possibility that the introspectible appearances of a con- 
scious mental process may be literally slices of it ; that 
is a question for subsequent discussion. 

If the view which I have been suggesting be accepted 
it will be seen that there is a close analogy between the 
problem of the nature of traces and dispositions and 
their relation to introspectible experiences, on the one 
hand ; and the problem of the nature of physical objects 
and processes and their relation to sensa, on the other. 
Now about the latter problem there are, I think, five 
possible types of theory ; and corresponding to each of 
these will be a possible type of theory about the nature 
of traces and dispositions, (i) Phenomenalis77i. This is 
the theory that, strictly speaking, there are no physical 
objects or processes. There are just the sensa which 
we sense and the observable relations between them 
which put certain of them into certain groups. Corre- 
sponding to this would be Mr Russell's tentative 
suggestion of a special kind of Mnemic Causation 
which directly connects introspectible experiences and 
does away with the need for assuming traces and 
dispositions. (2) Naive Realism. This is the theory 
that the sensa which are appearances of a physical object 
are literally spatio-temporal parts of that object, and 
that the spatio-temporal parts of it which are not mani- 
fested in sensation are of precisely the same nature as 
those which are so manifested. Corresponding to this 
would be the theory that the introspectible appearances 
of a conscious mental process are literally temporal 
slices of the whole process, and that the non-intro- 
spectible slices are of precisely the same nature as 
those which we can introspect. (3) Critical Realism. 
This is the theory that sensa are not literally spatio- 
temporal parts of the physical objects of which they are 
appearances ; that there are certain characteristics which 



UNCONSCIOUS MENTAL EVENTS 423 

belong- only to sensa and not to physical objects ; and 
that there are other characteristics which belong to both, 
though not necessarily in the same determinate form. 
In the next Chapter I will try to explain the theory 
about traces and dispositions which would correspond 
to this. (4) Agnosticism. This is the theory that we 
have no means of telling what are the characteristics 
of those relatively permanent things and processes 
which manifest themselves partially to us by the 
interrelated sensa which we from time to time sense. 
Corresponding to this would be the view that we 
cannot tell whether what manifests itself partially to 
us by interrelated experiences is mental or physical or 
both or neither. (5) Mentalisvi. This is the theory 
that the relatively permanent conditions of interrelated 
sets of sensa are minds or states of mind, e.g., colonies 
of spirits of a low order of intelligence (Leibniz) or 
standing volitions in the mind of God (Berkeley). 
Corresponding to this would be the view that the bits 
of experience which we can introspect are appearances 
of purely physical or physiological processes, and that 
the intervals between these introspectible experiences 
are filled in with something which is physical or physio- 
logical and not in any sense mental. I leave the dis- 
cussion of these alternatives to the next Chapter. 

Wholly " Unconscious Mental Processes''\ We are now 
in a position to consider the arguments for " unconscious 
mental processes " which are not merely factors in 
"conscious mental processes." A completely un- 
conscious mental process would be a process of the 
same kind as those which appear to us or to others as 
a series of characteristically interrelated experiences, 
but which does not in fact appear to anyone in that 
way. It may be compared with a completely un- 
perceived physical object or process, such as an un- 
perceived fire. This is a process of the same kind as 
those which appear to ourselves or to others as a series 
of characteristically interrelated i^ensa, but which does 



424 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

not in fact manifest itself to anyone in this way. 
Naturally, a belief in a completely unconscious mental 
process, like a belief in a completely unperceived 
physical object or process, must rest on inference ; 
and this inference will take the form of an argument 
from causation and analogy. To illustrate this I will 
consider the arguments which have led psycho-analysts 
and others to postulate wholly unconscious conations. 

These arguments are logically of the same type as 
those which led Adams and Leverrier to postulate the 
existence of the hitherto unperceived planet Neptune. 
In both cases they are arguments by analogy to explain 
certain observed perturbations and irregularities. We 
are quite familiar with the conflict between two conscious 
wishes. Each wish, in the absence of the other, would 
appear as a certain typical series of conscious experi- 
ences, though it would be more than the sum-total of 
these. When both coexist we can observe that the two 
series of conscious experiences do not go on side by 
side, but they are as a rule replaced by a modified 
series which is in some sense a compromise between 
the two. This modified series may resemble either of 
the unmodified series in various degrees, thus showing 
the relative strength of the two conscious wishes. And 
the conflict is accompanied by a characteristic conscious 
experience of strain and uneasiness. All these facts 
are of course quite familiar and open to introspective 
observation. Now we may sometimes find one and 
only one conscious wish ; and it may manifest itself to 
superficial observation as a certain series of conscious 
experiences which would be the normal manifestation 
of a single wish. And yet, if we look more closely into 
our minds or study our actions more carefully, we may 
find isolated bits of conscious experience or isolated 
actions which are not normal appearances of this con- 
scious wish but are more like the normal appearances 
of a certain conflicting wish. Or we may find, instead 
of these isolated and anomalous conscious experiences 



UNCONSCIOUS MENTAL EVENTS 425 

and actions, another peculiarity. We may find that 
our actual series of conscious experiences is more like 
the compromise series which occurs when we have two 
conflicting conscious wishes than like the pure series 
which occurs when we have a single conscious wish. 
Lastly, there will sometimes be a feeling of strain and 
uneasiness which resembles the feeling that we have 
when two conscious wishes conflict, although here we 
can introspectively perceive only one wish. Under 
these circumstances it is reasonable to suppose that 
there really are two processes going on, and that they 
are both such that we should call them "conscious 
wishes " if they manifested themselves as series of 
conscious experiences. And it is reasonable to suppose 
that they have to each other that kind of relation which 
often manifests itself as a conflict between two conscious 
wishes. But in this case, for some reason, one of these 
processes cannot manifest itself in a series of conscious 
experiences characteristic of a wish. It can manifest 
itself only by a few isolated and anomalous conscious 
experiences and actions, or by perturbing and com- 
promising the series of conscious experiences which 
is the manifestation of one of these wishes. This 
hypothesis will of course be strengthened if we do have 
a vague feeling of strain and uneasiness which cannot 
be explained by any observable conflict between our 
conscious wishes. So far the argument of the psycho- 
analysts is exactly like the arguments by which Adams 
and Leverrier were led to suspect the existence of the 
planet Neptwie, and to predict certain facts about it. 

The next stage was for astronomers to look for the 
hypothetical planet ; and, as we know, they were eventu- 
ally able to perceive it. The psycho-analysts would 
say that they had followed a similar course with similar 
results. The astronomers by their special technical 
methods succeeded in making the planet Neptune mani- 
fest itself by certain sensa characteristic of a planet such 
as Adams and Leverrier had suspected to exist. The 



426 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

psycho-analysts profess that, by using certain technical 
methods, they have in many cases made the previously 
unconscious wish manifest itself as a series of conscious 
experiences characteristic of such a wish as they had 
suspected to exist. If we accept this statement (and I 
see no reason why we should not) the analogy is 
complete. 

When we are considering the arguments for un- 
conscious mental processes used by psycho-analysts 
and others, I think we must distinguish three questions, 
(i) Are the arguments logically of the same form as 
arguments which we should admit to be valid in other 
spheres ? Here the answer is certainly in the affirmative. 
As I have just shown, they are of precisely the same 
form as those used by Adams and Leverrier in astronomy. 
True, they deal with a subject-matter which is much 
more complex and about which we know much less. 
And they cannot be put into mathematical form or 
tested by making exact measurements. This no doubt 
reduces the probability of their conclusions, but of their 
general formal validity there can be no doubt. (2) Do 
they make it probable that there are certain processes 
which do not give rise to characteristic sets of inter- 
related conscious experiences, but which are neverthe- 
less of the same nature and capable of the same mutual 
relations as processes which do manifest themselves by 
such sets of conscious experiences? Here again I think 
there is little doubt that the answer is in the affirmative. 
(3) Have we a right to call such processes "mental"? 
This question is ambiguous. If it merely means : 
" Are they of the same nature as those processes which 
do manifest themselves as conscious experiences?", the 
answer is that they most probably are. If it means : 
" Are they composed of mental events which are of the 
same nature as the conscious experiences by which other 
processes of a similar kind manifest themselves?", the 
answer, if one can be given at all, must be left to the 
next Chapter. And the answer to it will depend largely 



UNCONSCIOUS MENTAL EVENTS 427 

on what view we take about the nature of the "un- 
conscious parts" of "conscious mental processes". 
If we have to regard the "unconscious parts" of a 
"conscious mental process" as non-introspectible mental 
events, and the "conscious parts" as differing from 
them only in being introspectible, we shall have to 
answer the question affirmatively. Otherwise, we shall 
have to answer it with a definite negative ; or with a 
confession of ignorance ; or by analysing it into several 
questions, some of which can be answered affirmatively, 
others negatively, and others perhaps not at all. 

I have so far confined my attention to "unconscious 
wishes " and to the arguments which have been brought 
forward by psycho-analysts in favour of their existence. 
There is another set of facts which seem strongly to 
favour the hypothesis of "unconscious mental pro- 
cesses ". These are the cases in which a patient under 
hypnosis is told to perform a certain act at a certain 
number of minutes (which may run into hundreds or 
thousands) after he has been awakened. It is found 
that certain patients perform the suggested action 
automatically at or very near to the suggested time. 
This seems to imply that the time which was given in 
minutes has been reduced to days and hours by some 
process of mental arithmetic, and that a watch has been 
kept for the arrival of the calculated moment. Yet the 
patient cannot discover this process of calculation and 
of watching by introspection. Here it certainly seems 
reasonable to suppose that a process has been going on 
similar to the processes which manifest themselves as a 
rule by the series of conscious experiences which we call 
"making a calculation". This process, for some 
reason, does not manifest itself in this way to the mind 
which normally controls this body. Whether the 
process can strictly be called "mental" depends upon 
considerations which must be discussed in the next 
Chapter. 

There is, however, one remark which must be made 



428 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

before ending this Chapter. Suppose that, on again 
hypnotising the patient, he says that he remembers 
making the calculation and watching for the calculated 
moment. If we accept this statement we shall have to 
suppose that a genuinely mental process has been going 
on, that it is literally unconscious relatively to the mind 
which normally controls this patient's body, but that it 
is literally conscious relatively to the mind which con- 
trols this body when it is hypnotised. And of course 
there may be good grounds for regarding these two 
"minds" as parts of a single mind which animates the 
body at both times. Now, supposing that such state- 
ments are made under hypnosis, I think that it is 
certain that some weight must be attached to them. 
We must remember, however, that a person under 
hypnosis is in an extremely suggestible state, and is 
very liable to answer questions in the way in which he 
supposes the questioner to want them answered. Thus 
I do not think that it would be reasonable to attach as 
much weight to the statements of a hypnotised person 
about his own experiences as to the statements of a 
normal waking person. We should at least need to be 
very certain that the questions were not put in such a 
way as to suggest even faintly to the patient that the 
questioner was wanting a certain kind of answer. I 
have not enough first-hand knowledge of the facts to 
feel sure whether these conditions have been fulfilled 
by the experimenters on this subject. 

Somewhat similar remarks apply to the statements 
made by alternating personalities, who claim to be co- 
conscious, like Sally Beauchamp. Such a personality, 
when in control, may tell us that it owned a certain 
continuous series of conscious experiences while another 
personality was in control. And this series may be 
such as to fill the gaps between certain fragmentary 
and isolated bits of conscious experience belonging to 
the latter personality. Here we have evidence which, 
taken at its face-value, would suggest that the " uncon- 



UNCONSCIOUS MENTAL EVENTS 429 

scious parts" of a conscious mental process in one 
personality are literally conscious experiences in another 
co-conscious personality. And, if we accepted this, 
we might be inclined to generalise this to normal cases, 
and to suggest that the difference here is that the co- 
conscious personality never gets control of the body 
and therefore never has a chance of telling us about its 
experiences. Now I think that some weight must be 
given to the statements of personalities like Sally about 
their own experiences. Moreover, it cannot be said 
that Sally was particularly suggestible ; she seemed to 
have a strong will of her own and to be quite capable 
of resisting unpalatable suggestions. But was the 
suggestion that she was co-conscious an unpalatable 
one? One gets the impression that she was very 
anxious to make herself out to be as important and 
mysterious as possible. (It will be remembered that at 
certain stages of the proceedings she claimed to be a 
"spirit".) There is obviously a fairly close connection 
between multiple personality and ordinary hysteria. 
Now hysterical persons can be extremely obstinate in 
many respects, as Sally was. But they show an em- 
barrassing readiness to provide evidence for any theory 
about hysteria which they believe to be held by the 
doctor who is treating them. And probably they would 
specially welcome any theory which enables them to 
feel themselves to be mysterious beings who are creating 
a revolution in current medical and psychological con- 
cepts. Thus, although we cannot afford to neglect 
their statements about themselves and their experiences, 
we ought to view them with very great suspicion. 



CHAPTER X 

The Nature of Traces and Dispositions 

In the last Chapter we saw that the question whether 
there are unconscious processes which are literally 
mental involves the question : " What is the nature 
of those processes which manifest themselves partially- 
through more or less discontinuous series of interrelated 
conscious experiences, and which presumably fill the 
temporal gaps between the conscious experiences of such 
series ? " We have already suggested several alterna- 
tive possible theories on this point ; and it is now 
time to consider them in greater detail with a view 
to deciding, if possible, between them. 

Analogous Facts about Material Substances. — It will 
be wise to begin by considering the analogies and 
differences between the mental facts under discussion 
and certain facts about material substances. Let us take 
any material substance, e.g.^ a circular ring of elastic 
steel wire. We notice that there are certain character- 
istics which, strictly speaking, belong to its states 
rather than to it ; and that there are other characteristics, 
which, strictly speaking, belong to it rather than to any 
of its states. The wire ring throughout its history 
always has some shape or other, and it may have the 
same shape for long periods of its history. If we 
squeeze it between our fingers it assumes various ellip- 
tical shapes ; and, when we let go of it, it goes back to 
what we call its ''natural shape", which is circular. 
We should commonly express these facts by saying 
that " the shape of the ring is sometimes circular, some- 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 431 

times elliptical and of eccentricity e, sometimes ellip- 
tical and of eccentricity e , and so on ". If we divide 
up the history of this ring into successive adjoined 
slices there is a certain determinable characteristic 
which belongs to all these slices, viz., the characteristic 
of "having some shape" or even the more determinate 
characteristic of "having a shape which is some conic 
section". This can be said to belong to the thing; in 
the sense that it belongs to all the successive states of 
the thing, and that, if an event did not have this deter- 
minable characteristic, it would not be counted as a 
state of this thing. But the completely determinate 
forms of this determinable characteristic, e.g., circularity, 
ellipticity of eccentricity e, etc., belong strictly to the 
states of the thing and not to the thing. In the first 
place, one state may have one of these determinate 
characteristics, and another state of the same thing may 
have another of them. And, secondly, even if it should 
happen that all the states of the thing have precisely 
the same determinate shape, this is regarded as con- 
tingent. An event which had a different determinate 
shape would not eo ipso be denied to be a state of this 
thing. 

We have so far distinguished {a) certain determinable 
characteristics which may be said to belong to a thing, 
in so far as they belong to every state of the thing and 
in so far as any event to which they did not belong 
would not be counted as a state of this thing. And {b) 
completely determinate forms of these determinable 
characteristics. Every state of the thing has one or 
other of these, and it is possible that all its states may 
have the same determinate form of a certain deter- 
minable characteristic. But this is not necessary ; an 
event may have a different determinate form of this 
determinable characteristic without thereby failing to be 
a state of this thing. 

We have now to notice a quite different kind of 
characteristic, which can be said to belong to the thing 



432 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

but not to any of its states. The ring in our example 
has an inherent tendency to assume an elliptical state of 
such and such eccentricity when squeezed in such and 
such a way ; and it has an inherent tendency to assume 
the circular form when left alone. This might be called 
a "causal characteristic" of the ring. The character- 
istic of having some shape or of having a sliape which 
is some conic section is not a causal characteristic. 
And the determinate forms which this determinable 
characteristic assumes in various states of the thing are 
not causal^ though they are causedhy the causal character- 
istic and the external circumstances. Now causal char- 
acteristics of a thing may change without the thing 
being thereby destroyed. If I heated the ring to a 
certain temperature and then cooled it in a certain way, 
it would lose its elasticity. After this it would stay in 
any shape that I squeezed it into, and w^ould have no 
tendency to pass into the circular shape when I ceased 
to squeeze it. Such facts as these show that we must 
distinguish causal properties of various orders in a 
material thing. We may say that it is a "first 
order" causal characteristic of the ring to pass into 
a certain elliptical shape when squeezed and to pass 
back into the circular shape when released. And we 
may say that, after being heated, it has lost this first- 
order causal characteristic and has acquired the first- 
order causal characteristic of staying in any shape into 
which I may squeeze it. But it is also a causal 
characteristic of the ring that, when it is heated and 
cooled in a certain way, it loses the former first-order 
causal characteristic and gains the latter. This may be 
called a "second-order" causal characteristic of the 
ring. If we denote the two first-order characteristics 
by p-^ and p.^ respectively, we might denote by p.^^ the 
second -order causal characteristic that the substance 
loses /^ and gains/., under such and such conditions. 

Now sometimes such changes as these can be reversed 
either by reversing the original process or by some 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 433 

other means. E.g.^ by heating up the ring again, 
hammering it, and cooling it suitably I could make it 
lose /a ancl acquire /i. If this be so we may say that it 
has a second-order causal characteristic p^i as well as 
/j2- Iri other cases a change of first-order causal 
characteristics is not, so far as we know, reversible. It 
is a second-order causal characteristic of an organism 
that, if you give it a good dose of arsenic, it loses the 
first-order causal characteristic of "vital response". 
And we do not know of any way in which this first- 
order characteristic can be restored. We must of course 
recognise the possibility of causal characteristics of the 
third and higher orders ; but there is no need to go 
into detail about them. All that we need say is that 
the lower the order of a causal characteristic the more 
is it possible for this characteristic to change without 
our saying that the original substance has ceased to 
exist. Provided that the causal characteristics of higher 
order remain unaltered, and especially if the changes in 
first-order causal characteristics be reversible, we tend 
to hold that the same substance is still existing. 

We must next notice the connexion between causal 
characteristics and internal structure. So long as a 
material substance has a certain causal characteristic 
we are inclined to believe that it must have a certain 
characteristic internal structure. The word " structure " 
must here be taken in a wide sense to include both 
purely spatial and spatio-temporal structure. It is a 
first-order causal characteristic of a pillar-box to look 
red when illuminated by white light and viewed by a 
normal eye. We ascribe this to a certain persistent 
spatial structure of the minute particles of the pigment, 
in virtue of which the surface selectively reflects the red 
constituent of the white light. If the pillar-box be 
heated to a high enough temperature it will henceforth 
appear brown or black under similar conditions of 
illumination to a normal eye. Thus this first-order 
causal characteristic will have changed into a different 

2 E 



434 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

one. We ascribe this change to a change in the 
minute spatial structure of the pigment on the surface 
of the pillar-box. Other causal characteristics are 
ascribed, not to the mere persistence of a certain spatial 
structure, but to the fact that the minute particles of the 
body are continuing to move in certain orbits with 
certain characteristic velocities. Magnetic properties 
are an example in point. Here the persistence of the 
causal characteristic is correlated with the persistence of 
a certain spatio-temporal structure. It is characteristic 
of modern science as contrasted with mediceval science 
to correlate causal properties with minute spatial or 
spatio - temporal structure, and not to take them as 
ultimate facts. And there is no doubt that, in the case 
of material substances, this hypothesis has led to great 
advances in knowledge and has been "verified" as 
completely as any such hypothesis well could be. 

Let us consider the essential meaning of this pro- 
cedure. It comes to this. We correlate a causal 
characteristic of a substance with a certain non-causal 
characteristic of its successive states. Let us suppose 
that the substance has the first-order causal charac- 
teristic /^ up to and including the moment t, and that it 
then loses p-^ and gains p^^ instead. We assume that 
there is a certain determinable non-casual characteristic 
X which belongs to all the states of the substance both 
before and after /. And we assume that all the states of 
the substance up to and including the moment t have 
this determinable characteristic in the determinate form 
TTi, whilst all the states of the substance after the moment 
t have this determinable characteristic in the different 
determinate form tt^. In the case of material substances 
the non-causal determinable tt is always supposed to be 
some general type of internal spatio-temporal or purely 
spatial structure ; and the determinates tt^ and 7r2 are 
supposed to be different specific forms of this determin- 
able spatial or spatio-temporal structure. Thus there 
are really two independent assumptions, viz. {a) that 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 435 

each causal property of a substance depends upon a 
certain non-causal characteristic of its successive states, 
that so long as a causal property of a substance remains 
unchanged its successive states have the same de- 
terminate form of this non-causal characteristic, and 
that when the causal property changes the later states 
of the substance have this non-causal characteristic in a 
different determinate form ; and {b) that the non-causal 
characteristics on 'which the causal characteristics of 
substances depend are always certain types of internal 
spatial or spatio-temporal structure. 

There are two important points to notice before leav- 
ing this subject, (i) If the non-causal characteristics 
on which the causal characteristics of a material sub- 
stance depend be forms of internal spatial or spatio- 
temporal structure, they are of the same general nature 
as non-causal characteristics which we can actually 
observe, For we can observe that material substances 
have shapes and sizes, that several such substances can 
be arranged in various spatial patterns, and that they 
can move about in various ways as wholes. We are 
thus merely ascribing to the inside of a material sub- 
stance and to its minute parts characteristics which are 
analogous to those which we can perceive in its outside 
and on a large scale. And we assume that the minute 
structure and the minute movements which we cannot 
observe are subject to the same laws of geometry and 
mechanics as the gross structure and the gross move- 
ments which we can observe. (If the Quantum Theory 
be correct we are probably witnessing a partial break- 
down of the latter assumption.) 

(2) The second point to notice is that we cannot 
wholly reduce causal characteristics to non-causal char- 
acteristics by correlating the former with the persistence 
of a certain type of internal structure. When we say 
that the movements of the minute internal parts obey 
the laws of mechanics we are ascribing a certain causal 
characteristic to them. And when, e.g.^ we say that 



436 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

a certain minute spatial structure of a body causes it 
to select and reflect the red component of white light we 
are ascribing a causal characteristic to this structure. 
The most that we can do by this means is to reduce 
a number of causal characteristics which seem at first 
sight to be independent and disconnected to a com- 
paratively few fundamental causal characteristics which 
are familiar on the large scale and are very general and 
pervasive. 

I think that I have now said enough about the char- 
acteristics of material substances, though it would be 
necessary to go into many more details and to draw 
many more subtle distinctions if I were professing to 
give a complete account of this subject. I propose now 
to consider the analogies and differences between minds 
and material substances in these respects. In the first 
place, it is evident that we ascribe causal characteristics 
to minds as well as to material substances. First of all 
there are certain general "mental powers", which we 
regard as characteristic of all minds. For instance there 
is the power of cognising, the power of being affected 
by past experiences, the power of association, and so 
on. These may be compared to the most fundamental 
causal characteristics of matter, such as inertia, gravita- 
tional attraction, etc. Secondly, there are "mental 
dispositions " which differ from one mind to another 
and are fairly general in their effects. One man, e.g,, 
is "born good-tempered" and another man is "born 
irritable ". This means that the mind of the former has 
a causal characteristic such that very few conditions will 
put it into an angry state, whilst the mind of the latter 
has a causal characteristic such that very many con- 
ditions will put it into an angry state. Now under 
certain conditions a mind will lose the characteristic of 
being good-tempered and will acquire the characteristic 
of being bad-tempered. This may happen suddenly 
through a wound in the head or gradually through 
disease or continually irritating surroundings. Here 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 437 

we have an instance of a causal characteristic of higher 
order belonging to a mind. Some of these changes in 
the causal characteristics of minds are reversible. A 
man who has become irritable may be restored to a 
good-tempered disposition by regulating his liver or by 
treating him psycho-analytically. "Being irritable" 
may be compared to "looking red to most people in 
most lights", and "being good-tempered" may be 
compared to "looking brown to most people in most 
lights " ; and the characteristic of losing the former and 
gaining the latter when wounded in the head may be 
compared to the characteristic of losing one colour and 
permanently acquiring the other on being heated to a 
high enough temperature. So far there is obviously a 
great deal of analogy between the cjiaractg r i sjics- -X)f 
mental and of material substances. Let us now consider 
some of the differences. 

(i) Mental substances seem to start mainly with 
powers to acquire other and more determinate powers. 
A baby does not at first have the power to talk or to 
reason, but it has the power to acquire these powers 
if proper stimuli are applied. And in most cases these 
stimuli are applied if the baby lives, so that these more 
determinate powers generally are in fact acquired. I 
do not think that there is much analogy to this in the 
case of material substances. And this is not surprising. 
For a power to acquire some specific power, such as 
that of talking rationally, could hardly come into action 
if it were not for the general powers of association and 
" memory" in its widest sense ; and these are common 
and peculiar to minds. (2) Although some changes in 
which a mind loses one causal characteristic and gains 
another are reversible, most of them, so far as we know, 
are not. On the other hand, most changes in the 
causal characteristics of material substances are revers- 
ible. Of course this difference may simply be due to 
the fact that we know much more about matter than 
about mind, and have much greater practical control 



438 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

of the former than of the latter in consequence. (3) A 
mind in the course of its history is continually acquiring 
new and extremely determinate powers. E.g., it is 
continually acquiring the power to remember a certain 
definite event, which it did not have before this event 
happened. Although it also loses many of these de- 
terminate memory-powers with efflux of time, yet, on 
the whole, through many years of its life the number 
of determinate memory-powers which it possesses is 
probably steadily increasing. I do not think that 
there is anything analogous to this in the case of 
matter. It must of course be pointed out that these 
contrasts which I have been indicating are at their 
sharpest when we compare a highly developed mind 
with a bit of inorganic matter. Organised bodies 
certainly form a half-way house between mind and 
matter in these respects. 

So far I have been considering differences between 
the causal characteristics of mental and material sub- 
stances which are immediately obvious and involve no 
special theories about these characteristics. I have 
said that, in the case of material substances, we make 
two hypotheses which have been amply verified. The 
first is that, so long as a material substance has a 
certain causal characteristic, there is a certain correlated 
non-causal characteristic which belongs to each of its 
successive states and determines this causal character- 
istic. The second is that this non-causal characteristic 
is always a certain type of internal spatial or spatio- 
temporal structure. Now we do, no doubt, generally 
assume something analogous to the first proposition 
in dealing with the causal characteristics of minds. 
We do assume that, so long as a mind has a certain 
causal characteristic, there is a certain non-causal char- 
acteristic of something which determines this causal 
characteristic of the mind. But it is very difficult to 
maintain anything like the second proposition. In the 
first place, a mind, as such, does not seem to be a spatio- 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 439 

temporal whole ; we can, therefore, hardly talk of its 
spatio-temporal structure. If we want to talk of spatio- 
temporal structure in this connexion we have to desert 
the mind and start talking about the brain and nervous 
system. Again, the spatio-temporal parts of a material 
substance are themselves material substances ; e.g.^ the 
molecules of a gas are as good material substances as 
the gas itself. And the relations of the parts of a 
material substance within it are analogous to the rela- 
tions of this material substance to another which is 
outside it. E.g.^ the relations of the molecules of a bit 
of dust to each other are geometrically and mechanically 
analogous to the relations of a number of bits of dust 
dancing about in the air. Now a theory of mental 
structure analogous to this would have to be of the 
following kind. We should have to suppose that the 
observable minds of ourselves and our friends are 
composed of unobservable minds. And we should 
have to suppose that the unobservable minds which 
compose my mind are related to each other within it 
in the same kind of way as my mind is related to other 
observable minds to form a society. Now, of course, 
this might have been true, but it seems pretty evident 
that it is not in fact true. So far as one can judge the 
unity of an individual mind is not in the least like the 
unity of a society of minds. 

The difficulty then is this. If we try to correlate 
the causal characteristics of minds with minute spatio- 
temporal structure we are forced to ascribe this structure 
to the brain and nervous system and not to the mind 
itself. In that case I think we shall have to admit that 
we can hardly talk of a purely mental substance. The 
mind, in abstraction from the brain and nervous system, 
will be a mere set of mental events with many gaps and 
a very imperfect internal unity. It might be called an 
"incomplete substance." The only complete mental 
substance will be not merely mental but also material ; 
it will be the "mind-brain", if I may use that expres- 



440 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

sion. This, of course, is by no means a revolutionary- 
view. St Thomas, though he did not mean exactly what 
I mean and did not use the arguments which I am 
using, held that a human soul is in an "unnatural" 
state when separated from its body, and used this as 
an argument for the resurrection of the body. If, on 
the other hand, we try to assign a purely mental 
structure to our minds but otherwise to follow the 
analogy of material substances as closely as possible, 
we land in a different kind of trouble. We then have 
to regard each observable mind as a society of un- 
observable minds ; and this hypothesis seems not to fit 
the facts. The result of this is that we cannot get away 
from the much decried "faculty-psychology". We 
must remember that before Descartes' time there was a 
" faculty-physics ", and that Descartes' greatest achieve- 
ment was to show that the various causal characteristics 
of physical things can be connected with each other by 
correlating them all with characteristic forms of spatio- 
temporal structure and a few very general and pervasive 
causal characteristics. No one has succeeded in con- 
necting the various mental "powers" in any analogous 
way, and that is why psychology at present hardly 
deserves the name of a "science". It is, I think, quite 
certain that psychology will remain in this unsatis- 
factory state unless and until someone succeeds in doing 
for it what Galileo, Descartes, and Newton did for 
physics. And the difficulty of doing anything of the 
kind is obvious when we remember how difficult it is to 
conceive of purely mental "structure" or to imagine 
what can be the few fundamental causal characteristics 
which, together with diff"erences of " mental structure", 
will explain and connect the various observable mental 
powers. 

The Theory of Mnemic Causation. This is a theory 
which abandons all attempts to correlate the causal 
characteristics of minds with anv non-causal character- 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 441 

istic. A fortiori [t refuses to correlate them with purely 
mental "structure" or with the spatio-temporal structure 
of the brain and nervous system. This theory has 
been tentatively suggested by Mr Russell in Lectures 
IV and V of his Analysis of Mind, He rather un- 
happily associates it with the name of Semon, who, so 
far as I can see, never thought of anything of the kind. 
Semon was anxious to show that vanemic phenomena are 
much commoner and more important than has generally 
been thought. But his theory of their causation seems 
to be quite commonplace ; it is just a theory of traces 
thinly disguised under the name of "engrams". 

I shall have to draw certain distinctions and go into 
certain details which will not be found in Mr Russell's 
book. I will begin by trying to give definitions of 
"mnemic"and " non-mnemic " events, such that there 
shall be no doubt that there are mnemic events. 

Definition of ^^ Mnemic Events ^\ I shall begin with 
rough definitions, and shall gradually polish them 
under the friction of criticism. A gas-explosion might 
be taken as a typical example of a non-mnemic event, 
and a memory of a past visit to a certain town as a 
typical example of a mnemic event. What is the 
relevant difference between them ? The gas-explosion 
could be fully accounted for by reference to the state of 
affairs which immediately preceded it. In this we 
should find a certain mixture of gas and oxygen and the 
striking of a light ; and these together are enough to 
account for the happening of the explosion there and 
then. No doubt, if we like, we can go further back. 
We could predict the presence of this particular mixture 
by knowing that a gas-tap had been turned on for so 
long; and we could predict the striking of the light 
from the fact that a man had filled his pipe and had just 
taken out his match-box to light it. But there is no 
need for us to go back to these earlier events. The 
explosion is directly determined by what immediately 
precedes it ; and it is determined by earlier events only 



442 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

in so far as these determine its immediate antecedents. 
We will define a "non-mnemic event " as one whose 
independently necessary conditions are all contained in 
the state of affairs which immediately precedes it. No 
one questions that many events are non-mnemic, in this 
sense. 

Now contrast this with the memory which I now have 
of a visit which I paid to a certain town last year. In 
order to account for the occurrence of this memory it is 
not, on the face of it, enough to refer to what im- 
mediately preceded it. We should no doubt find 
there the stimulus which called forth the memory just 
then. But it is obvious that precisely the same stimulus 
might have acted and would have called forth no such 
memory if I had not visited the town at all. Thus, in 
order to account completely for the occurrence of the 
memory now, it seems necessary to go back to the event 
of last year, viz., my visit to the town. It might, 
therefore, seem plausible to define a " mnemic event" as 
one whose independently necessary conditions are not 
all contained in the state of aftairs which immediately 
precedes it. 

This definition, however, would be unsatisfactory for 
the following reason. It would leave it uncertain 
whether there are any mnemic events, and the decision 
would depend on whether we did or did not accept 
mnemic causation. This is just what we do not want. 
On the usual form of the trace - theory all the in- 
dependently necessary conditions of the memory do 
immediately precede its occurrence. For this event is 
supposed to be completely determined by the present 
stimulus and the present trace which this stimulus 
excites. On this view the actual visit to the town last 
year is at most a dependently necessary condition ; i.e.^ 
the most that we can say is that the trace would not 
have existed unless the visit had taken place. So that, 
if the trace-theory be true, the memory is not really a 
mnemic event in the sense defined above. In order to 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 443 

avoid this complication I shall have to introduce the 
words "macroscopic" and "microscopic" into my 
definitions. Macroscopic events are those which can be 
directly observed, measured, etc. Microscopic events 
are those which are supposed to take place in the 
minute structure of nature, and to be from their nature 
unobservable by us. These terms were introduced 
into physics by Lorentz in his Theory of Electrons ; and 
r propose to borrow them. 

I will now define a " macroscopically mnemic event ". 
This will be an event whose independently necessary 
macroscopic conditions are not all contained in the state 
of affairs which immediately precedes its occurrence. 
There is no doubt of the existence of macroscopically 
mnemic events, in the sense defined. If we make no 
hypotheses about traces, unconscious mental processes, 
etc., i.e.^ about microscopic events, and confine ourselves 
wholly to what we can perceive and introspect, it is 
quite certain that events in the remote past are inde- 
pendently necessary conditions of memory-experiences. 
The question at issue between those who accept and 
those who reject Mnemic Causation can now be stated 
clearly. "Are those events which are macroscopically 
mnemic microscopically non-mnemic, or are they not?" 
The trace-theory says " Yes ", and the theory of Mnemic 
Causation says "No". 

Causal and Epistemological Conditions. We must now 
notice a distinction which Mr Russell does not explicitly 
draw. On the ordinary form of the trace-theory, if a 
similar trace could have existed without the visit to the 
town having taken place, and if the same stimulus had 
acted, I should have had a similar experience though I 
had never visited the town. And the case of hallucina- 
tory memory-experiences might be quoted in support 
of this view. But it would be possible to hold a 
trace-theory, and yet to hold that the existence of 
the trace and the occurrence of the stimulus are not 
sufficient conditions for the occurrence of the memory- 



444 



THE UNCONSCIOUS 



experience. A person who holds the realistic view that, 
in all memory-situations, there is direct acquaintance 
with the actual past event remembered would have to 
regard the existence of the past event as an indepen- 
dently necessary condition of the occurrence of the 
memory-experience. In order to deal with these possi- 
bilities it is necessary to distinguish between the 
"causal" and the " epistemological " conditions of a 
macroscopically mnemic event. The causal conditions 
of a memory-experience are those which would make this 
kind of situation arise at a certain Y(\om^xiX. provided ^dX 
a suitable object exists to be its objective constituent. 
The existence of such an object, ready to be the objective 
constituent of the situation if it arises, is what I mean 
by the " epistemological condition " of the event. We 
can now consider the attitude which various possible 
theories would take up towards a macroscopically 
mnemic event, such as a memory-experience. 

(i) The ordinary form of the trace-theory would hold 
that both the causal and the epistemological conditions 
of a memory-situation are non-mnemic when we consider 
microscopic events and objects. Let us illustrate this, 
and the alternative theories, by diagrams. Let us re- 
present momentary events by dots, memory-images by 
circles, persistent traces by crosses, the causal relation 
by a full arrow, and the cognitive relation by a dotted 
arrow. Then the ordinary trace-theory of memory is 
represented by the diagram below. 



e <' 




m 



^xxxxxxxx:> c 



/ 



A 



Here ^, a past event, produces a trace /? which persists. 
In course of time a stimulus s excites this trace and 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 



445 



produces the awareness of a memory-image i which 
resembles e. The whole situation " being aware of the 
image z which resembles the past event e " is the memory 
of this past event. Here the causal and the epistemo- 
logical conditions are both ultimately non-mnemic. 

(ii) Let us next consider the trace-theory combined 
with a realistic view of memory. The diagram is given 
below. 

e ^ — <- — z '^ 



xxxxxxxxx K 



A 
is 



Here, as before, the past event e produces the trace 
t which persists and is eventually excited by the stimulus 
s. But here the result is not to make me aware of a 
present image resembling the past event. The result 
is to make me cognise directly the past event e which 
left the trace. The cognitive relation jumps over the 
time-gap between stimulus and past event, though the 
causal relation does not. Thus the causal conditions 
are here ultimately non-mnemic, but the epistemological 
conditions are mnemic. 

(iii) We will next consider Mr Russell's form of the 
Mnemic Causation Theory. The diagram is as follows : 



->- 



J 



i^ 



Here the past event e and the present stimulus jt to- 
gether produce by mnemic causation the awareness of 
a memory-image / which in fact resembles e and is 
accompanied by a " feeling of familiarity". This con- 
stitutes the memory m of the event c. The causal 



446 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

conditions are here irreducibly mnemic, whilst the 
epistemological conditions are non-mnemic. 

(iv) It would obviously be possible to imagine a still 
more radically mnemic theory, by combining the theory 
of Mnemic Causation with the realistic view of memory. 
This is illustrated in the appended diagram. 

/n 



e^ ^ 



J 

Here the causal conditions are as in (iii) ; but the 
result is not to produce the awareness of a present 
image which feels familiar and in fact resembles the 
past event. The result is to produce a direct awareness 
of the past event e itself, i.e., a cognitive situation of 
which e itself is the objective constituent. Here then 
both the causal and the epistemological conditions 
would be irreducibly mnemic. 

Of course there are plenty of macroscopically mnemic 
events where there is no need to introduce the distinction 
between causal and epistemological conditions. For 
many such events are not cognitions at all ; and many 
which are cognitions do not have past events as their 
epistemological objects. Still, memories are the most 
striking example of macroscopically mnemic events, 
and with them it is necessary to introduce the distinc- 
tion. Perhaps the distinction can be made clear to 
anyone who finds it obscure, by means of the following 
analogy. Suppose we take the second possible theory, 
viz., the trace-theory combined with the realistic view 
of memory. We might compare the past event, on this 
view, to a lock ; the trace to a key made to fit the lock ; 
and remembering the past event to undoing the lock 
with the key. The existence of the lock plays two 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 447 

different parts in determining the event of unfastening 
the lock. {a) The lock was originally made ; then 
someone took a wax model of it ; and then someone 
cut a key from this model to fit the lock, and this key 
is used from time to time to unfasten the lock. (Those 
of my readers who are either professional burglars or 
fellows of colleges with aweakness for losingtheir fellow's- 
keys will be familiar with the causal sequence which I 
have been describing.) This corresponds to the original 
event as an immediate causal condition of the trace and 
a remote causal condition of the memory, (d) The act 
of undoing the lock with the key cannot occur unless 
the lock exists in its original form to put the key into. 
This corresponds to the original event as an independ- 
ently necessary epistemological condition of the memory. 
" Temporal Separation'''' and ^^ Immediate Precedence'". 
There is one other notion which is involved in our 
definitions of mnemic and non-mnemic events, which 
needs to be cleared up. Real events are not momentary, 
but have a finite duration ; i.e. they are like lines and 
not like points. This implies that *' momentary events " 
are not literally constituents of finite events, as short 
events are of longer ones that overlap them. They are 
complicated functions of finite events, and have to be 
defined by Extensive Abstraction in the way which 
Whitehead has shown us. Again, the time-series is 
supposed to be continuous ; and this implies that, when 
we " analyse" finite events into " momentary events", 
no two of these momentary events will be next to each 
other, as two successive railings of a fence are. When 
we say that all the independently necessary conditions 
of an event are contained in the state of affairs which 
immediately precedes it, we seem to imply {a) that all 
these conditions are '* momentary ", {b) that they all 
belong to the same moment, and {c) that this moment 
" immediately precedes " the moment at which the event 
begins. These statements are all Pickwickian, and we 
must now interpret them. 



448 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

Let us represent the event e, which is to be the effect, 
by a short line be. Let the various conditions which 
are severally necessary and jointly sufficient to produce 
e be contained in various earlier slices of the world's 
history. These may be represented by a number of 
lines ab^ a'b, a"b, which all end at b the beginning of e. 
Thus — 




Now take short slices along ba, ba, and ba" ; e.g., bx, 
bx, and bx". Suppose we find that, no matter how 
short we make these stretches, they still contain all 
the independently necessary conditions of e. Then we 
can sum this up by saying that all the conditions of e 
are "momentary" and that they all "immediately 
precede ^." 

If we did not find this to be true, several alternatives 
would be possible, (i) We might find that all the 
independently necessary conditions of e were momentary, 
but that they did not all immediately precede e. For 
instance, we might find that the stretch bx fails to 
contain a certain necessary condition of e, but that the 
stretch x^ contains this missing condition, no matter 
how near ^ be to x. Then we could say that e has a 
momentary condition which is separated from it by the 
time-gap bx. (ii) We might find that some of e's 
conditions are neither momentary nor immediately 
precedent to e. For instance, it may be that if x^ be 
made too short it will fail to contain a certain necessary 
condition of e. There may in fact be certain character- 
istics which determine by their occurrence the occurrence 
of ^, and need a certain minimum stretch of duration to 
inhere in. E.g., if e were partly determined by a certain 
characteristic rate of vibration, it would seem that this 
could not inhere in a smaller duration than that taken 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 449 

by one complete period of the vibration, (iii) It might 
happen that, whilst some of es conditions are not 
momentary, yet the non-momentary conditions are con- 
.tinuous in time with e. This would mean, e.g., that 
one of the necessary conditions of e is the pervasion of 
a certain finite stretch such as bx by a certain non- 
uniform characteristic, but that this stretch ends at the 
same moment as e begins. 

We can now give a more accurate definition of non- 
mnemic and of mnemic events. A non-mnemic event 
would be one whose " momentary " conditions (if it has 
any) all "immediately precede" it, and whose non- 
momentary conditions (if it has any) are all continuous 
with it. A mnemic event would be one which has at 
least one independently necessary condition which is 
separated from it by a finite gap in time. It does not 
follow that this gap may not also contain conditions 
which are necessary for e's occurrence ; the point is that 
they are not sufficient without the condition which pre- 
cedes the gap. We must also recognise the theoretical 
possibility that a remote condition of an event might be 
both an independently and a dependently necessary 
condition of it. Suppose, e.g., that a "momentary" 
event at A' determines the filling ol the stretch xb, and 
that ^ is a function both of this event and of the filling 
oixb. Then this remote event will be an independently 
necessary condition of e ; but it will also be a de- 
pendently necessary condition of e, in so far as it 
determines the filling of xb which in turn partially 
determines e. 

The important point for us to notice is that what is ^ 
characteristic of mnemic causation is the time-gap between ^ 
an event and some of its independently necessary condi- 
tions. The question whether the conditions are or are 
not ^^ momentary'' is not the distinguishing mark. And 
the question whether this time-gap does or does not 
contain other necessary conditions is not relevant, so 
long as it does not contain all the independently neces- 

2 F 



^ 



450 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

sary conditions. It is important to see this. For it 
is almost certain that there is causation in which the 
conditions are not "momentary", in the sense defined 
above. Therefore, if we confuse mnemic causation with 
causation in which some of the conditions are non- 
momentary, we shall be liable to accept the former on 
grounds which are relevant only to the latter. 

Criticism of Mnemic Causation. We may sum up the 
differences between the trace-theory and the theory of 
mnemic causation as follows. Whenever we have a 
macroscopically mnemic event there is a time - gap 
between the event and some of its independently 
necessary macroscopic conditions. The trace-theory 
holds that such a gap cannot be an ultimate fact ; all 
the independently necessary conditions of an event 
must be continuous with it, if they be non-momentary, 
and must "immediately precede" it, if they be 
"momentary". We have explained the Pickwickian 
phrases in inverted commas. Hence the trace-theory 
holds that the past experience is not an independently 
necessary causal condition of the memory of it ; and it 
has to fill the gap by postulating hypothetical microscopic 
entities, viz., traces, which are produced by the past 
*J, \ experience and persist into the present. The mnemic 

theory, on the other hand, is prepared to accept as an 
ultimate fact that some of the independently necessary 
conditions of an event are neither continuous with it 
nor " immediately precede " it. It is prepared to bridge 
the temporal gap by postulating a special kind of causal 
relation. 

On a first inspection each theory is seen to have its 
characteristic merits and defects. One keeps to the 
familiar kind of causal relation, but has to postulate 
purely hypothetical persistent entities ; the other keeps 
to events which can actually be observed by intro- 
spection, but has to postulate an unfamiliar kind of 
causal relation. In dealing with matter I do not think 
that we should hesitate for a moment between the two. 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 451 

The notion of a hidden minute structure in matter is 
perfectly famiUar to us ; we know that our unaided 
senses cannot distinguish the finer divisions of matter, 
and that microscopes often reveal a highly differentiated 
structure in what seems quite homogeneous to the naked 
eye. Moreover, we know that the details thus dis- 
covered very often explain the behaviour of the bodies 
in which we discover them. Hence the idea of material 
structure and states too minute for us to perceive even 
with the microscope is almost forced upon us ; and it is 
reasonable to suppose that the not very numerous macro- 
scopically mnemic phenomena which are observed in 
the inorganic realm are microscopically non- mnemic. 
It is much harder to conceive of a microscopic mental 
structure, and this is the only reason why we are tempted 
to introduce the theory of mnemic causation into mental 
phenomena. Since the mind and its states are not in 
any obvious sense extended, the idea of a structure 
which cannot be observed because of its spatial minute- 
ness fails us here. The notion of non-introspectible 
and perhaps unowned series of mental events, which 
otherwise resemble our conscious experiences, is not 
easy for us to grasp ; and it is hard for us to give a 
meaning to mental events which do not resemble our 
conscious experiences. Hence the main motive for 
considering favourably a mnemic-causation-theory for 
mental phenomena is simply the difficulty which we 
have in conceiving the intrinsic nature of traces and 
dispositions unless we are prepared to regard them as 
purely material modifications of the brain and nervous 
system. Against this we might put two considerations, 
(i) Although the mental events which we can intro- 
spect do not seem to be extended they do seem to have 
different degrees of intensity, and it does seem to be 
harder to discriminate them introspectively as their 
intensity decreases. Thus it might be possible to 
substitute low intensity for small extension, and to 
conceive of traces and dispositions as being of the 



452 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

nature of ordinary conscious mental events but of 
very low intensity. (2) Some people would certainly 
hold that there are a priori objections to the whole 
notion of mnemic causation, and that we must therefore 
adopt a trace-theory, no matter what difficulties we may 
have in picturing to ourselves the intrinsic nature of 
traces and dispositions. 

I propose now to say something about this last point. 
In order to discuss it adequately it would be necessary 
to enter in great detail into the nature of causation in 
general. This would be out of place in the present 
connexion. I shall, therefore, confine myself to a few 
remarks which seem relevant and do not carry us too 
far afield. 

(i) In answering objections against the possibility of 
mnemic causation Mr Russell assumes that causal laws 
are merely assertions of regular jaeque^n^jej-^^^ t^at any 
true assertion of regular S£.q.u£j Lce is a c au&aJ-Iaw: He 
supposes an objector to say that, in mnemic causation, 
some of the independently necessary conditions of an 
event have ceased to exist long before the event begins 
to happen. And then the objector is supposed to raise 
the difficulty: "How can anything act after it has 
ceased to exist for a finite time?" To put the objection 
in a concrete form: — "According to the theory of 
mnemic causation my perception of a town which I 
visited last year literally produces a memory of this 
event whenever a suitable stimulus acts on me. But 
the perception is long past and is in no sense continued 
into the present. It has ceased to exist itself, and 
nothing now exists which can be regarded as a con- 
tinuation of it. How then can it do anything now?" 
Mr Russell answers that this objection presupposes the 
activity theory of causation, which is now rejected by 
most philosophers. And he goes on to say that causa- 
tion simply means regular -sequence ; and that, with 
this interpretation, there is no a priori objection to 
mnemic causation. By saying that C causes E, on this 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 453 

view, we simply mean that C is a set of conditions r^, r^, 
. . . r„, such that (a) whenever they are all fulfilled E 
happens, and {d) whenever E happens they have all 
been fulfilled. This says nothing about c^ . . . c„ 
being all of the same date and all ''immediately pre- 
ceding" E. Hence, if this be all that we ever mean by 
saying that C causes E, mnemic causation is ante- 
cedently quite as possible as non -mnemic causation ; 
and it becomes a mere question of fact (which could 
never be conclusively settled) whether there is mnemic 
causation. 

For a complete discussion it would-be necessary, first, 
to consider whether causation does mean nothing but 
regular sequence. If we found that it did involve some- 
thing more, the next question would be whether this 
extra factor would be inconsistent with the possibility 
of mnemic causal laws. And^ lastly, we might ask 
whether, even if causation is simply regular 
it is true to say that past experience and preset 
are sufficient by themselves to cause a memory of the 
past event. 

{a) It is, of course, impossible for me to give an 
adequate discussion of the meaning of Causation here. 
I will simply say that, even if all causation involves 
regular sequence, I very much doubt whether all regular 
sequence would be counted as a causal law. I should 
say that there are many cases where we should admit 
regular sequence and unhesitaiingly deny causation ; 
though there are perhaps no cases where we can im- 
hesitatmgly assert causation in addition to regular 
sequence. I do not propose to do more here than to 
show that the line of argument by which the doctrine 
that causation is simply regular sequence is~cqimmonly 
supported is a very weak one. The argument generally 
takes the following form. The plain man starts by 
believing that there is something in causation beside 
regular sequence. His opponent then asks him to state 
clearly what this extra factor is. The plain man is then 



I 



might ask t 
r sequence, .. i, 
?nt stimulus '\ 



454 



THE UNCONSCIOUS 



V 
V"^ 



>^" 



inclined to say that causation involves "activity" or 
"necessity" or both, in addition to regular sequence. 
His opponent then tries to show that the notion of 
" activity" is just an illegitimate extension to all cases 
of causation of certain characteristics which accompany 
the very special experience of voluntarily initiating an 
action. He also argues, on the lines of Mr Hume, that 
no causal law is found to be necessary on careful re- 
flection. Thus the plain man finds that the two marks 
by which he proposed to distinguish causation from 
mere de facto regularity of sequence vanish under his 
opponent's criticisms ; and he has to admit that he 
cannot state any factor which differentiates a causal 
law from a mere statement of regular sequence. His 
opponent then argues that this failure to state the dif- 
ference is due to there being no difference to state ; and 
the plain man is reduced to silence, though not alto- 
gether to conviction. 

If we reflect we shall see that this is a very poor 
argument for the purpose. Suppose that causation did 
involve an unique and not further analysable relation. 
It might be that regular sequence was not even paj-t of 
what we mean by causation, but was merely a sign 
(though by no means an infallible one) by which the 
presence of this other relation is indicated. If this 
relation be unique and unanalysable, like the relation 
of inside and outside in space, for instance, it will be 
impossible to define it in any but tautologous terms. 
Thus the failure to define anything in causation except 
regular sequence may be due, not to the absence of an 
extra factor, but to its being ultimate and unanalysable. 
Our extreme unwillingness to admit that causation is 
nothing but regular sequence, and the extreme paradoxes 
to which any such views lead (cf. Mr Russell's examples 
about the hooters at two distant factories which both 
sound at the same time and therefore are both equally 
causes of eit/ie)- set of workmen going to their work) 
suggest strongly that there is something in causation 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 455 

beside merely regularity of sequence. On the other 
hand, I think we must admit that, if there be a peculiar 
relation involved in causation, we are seldom if ever 
directly acquainted with it as we often are directly 
acquainted with certain spatial and temporal relations. 
I cannot perceive the causal relation by any of my 
senses, as I can perceive that one thing in my field of 
view is to the right of another thing in my field of view. 
And I cannot, I think, ever be perfectly certain on 
reflection that A causes B in addition to regularly preced- 
ing\\.. (If there beany exception to this, I think it is 
in my voluntary initiation of certain changes.) But I 
think that I can be absolutely certain that I do not 
mean the same thing by "A causes B" and "A is 
regularly followed by B ". And I think that I can often 
be quite certain that A does not cause B in spite of com- 
plete regularity of sequence between the two. E.g.^ I 
am quite sure that the hooter of a factory in Manchester 
does not cause the workmen of a factory in London to 
go to their work, even though the Manchester hooter 
does always blow just before the London workmen start 
to wend their way to the London factory. 

{b) So far I have suggested that regular sequence 
may be no part of what we mean by causation, but that 
it is one of the signs by which we judge with more or 
less conviction that the causal relation is present. It 
may be, however, that regular sequence by itself is not 
an adequate sign of the presence of the causal relation. 
It may be that only certain kinds of regular sequence 
are trustworthy as signs of the causal relation. And, 
again, even if it be held that all causation is regular 
sequence and that there is no specific and unanalysable 
factor in causation, it might still be held that only 
certain kinds of regular sequence are cases of causation. 
I think that this must be admitted in view of our refusal 
to regard the sequence of the blowing of the Manchester 
hooter and the movement of the London workmen as an 
instance of causation. Now the missing factor seems 



456 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

to be a certain spatio-temporal continuity between the 
sequent events. I am inclined to think that it is the 
absence of such continuity between the blowing of the 
Manchester hooter and the movements of the London 
workmen which makes me so certain that the former is 
not a cause of the latter. I think that it is the absence 
of the required temporal continuity between "cause" 
and "effect" which is the real basis of the objection to 
mnemic causation which Mr Russell has dismissed as 
due to the ghost of the activity theory of causation. If 
such continuity be essential to the notion of causation 
then " mnemic causation" can be dismissed, even if we 
admit that there is no specific and unanalysable causal 
relation. For only certain kinds of regular sequences 
will count as "causal"; and the sequence of past 
experience and present memory is not of the required 
kind. My own view is that I do not mean by "causa- 
tion " any kind of regular sequence ; but that certain 
kinds of regular sequence are fairly trustworthy signs 
of the presence of the causal relation. But the final 
result is the same. For the sequence of past experience 
and present memory is not of the kind which I regard 
as a trustworthy sign of the presence of a direct causal 
relation between the two. 

[c) Let us now ask ourselves the question : " Suppose 
that causation were simply regular sequence, and that 
any and every kind of regular sequence were causation, 
should we be justified in holding that a past experience 
and a present stimulus are the complete cause of a 
present memory ? " Suppose that I visited a certain 
town two years ago, and that last year someone 
mentioned its name to me and I thereupon remembered 
my visit to it. Suppose that some time after this I had 
a bad illness or an accident ; it might well happen that, 
if the name were now mentioned to me, I should not 
remember my visit to the town. Such cases are of 
course very common. It follows at once that the two 
conditions, past experience and present stimulus, are 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 457 

not jointly sufficient, though they may be severally 
necessary, to cause a memory even on the most extreme 
form of the regularity-theory of causation. For the 
memory does not regularly follow on the fulfilment of 
these conditions and of these alone. In fact, we have 
made the common mistake of ignoring a condition 
which is just as necessary as the rest, but is unexciting 
and is much more often fulfilled than not. We talk 
carelessly of a gas-escape and a spark as the cause of an 
explosion. But the presence of Oxygen is equally 
necessary and much more likely to be forgotten, because 
this condition is nearly always fulfilled, whilst it is much 
less common for gas to be escaping or for sparks to be 
flying about. In the same way something which may 
vaguely be called "the general integrity of the brain 
and nervous system " is at least as necessary as the 
past experience and the present stimulus if the memory 
is to arise. We forget this condition because it is 
generally fulfilled while we are alive. Now this condi- 
tion cannot be given a definite date. If it breaks down 
anywhere between the original experience and the sub- 
sequent stimulus, the memory is liable not to arise. 
It seems to me extremely unlikely that there is any such 
thing as mnemic causation, even on the extreme 
regularity-theory which Mr Russell assumes, if by this ' ^. 
you mean that a number of conditions separated in time 
from each other and from the event which they are 
supposed to cause are jointly sufficient to cause this \ 
event. And it is perfectly certain that memories are 
not completely determined by past experience and 
present stimulus in the sense that they regularly follow 
on the fulfilment of these two conditions alone. To put 
the matter generally, I should say that even on the 
regularity-theory of causation the complete cause of 
any event involves persistent as well as transient con- 
ditions. Even if the transient conditions be separated 
from each other by temporal gaps these gaps must be- 
filled with persistent conditions which stretch right up 



458 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

to the beginning of the effect. Mr Russell in his 
account of mnemic causation seems to have made the 
common mistake of mentioning the transient and 
forgetting the persistent conditions. 

It is, however, quite easy to rectify this oversight, 
and then we can see precisely where the difference 
between mnemic causation and ordinary causation 
would lie. The difference remains considerable. On 
Mr Russell's theory, as modified to meet the above 
criticism, there is a persistent condition involved in 
memory, but it is general and not special. This per- 
sistent condition is just the general integrity of the 
brain and nervous system, which existed before as well 
as after the past experience and was in no way modified 
by it. On the trace-theory there is a special persistent 
condition, which was started by the past experience 
and would not have existed without it. The two inde- 
pendently necessary conditions of the memory are this 
special persistent and the stimulus. The difference can 
be seen most clearly as follows. On the trace-theory, 
if you were to take a cross-section of the history of the 
experient's body and mind anywhere between the past 
experience and the stimulus you would find something, 
viz., the trace, which corresponds to and may be re- 
garded as the representative of the past experience. 
On Mr Russell's theory, even when modified to meet 
the above criticisms, these intermediate slices, though 
relevant and necessary, would contain nothing which 
corresponds to and represents the past experience. In 
mnemic causation we should have the following situa- 
tion. Although there is continuity between the total 
cause and the effect (since one essential part of the cause 
is a general persistent condition which fills the gap 
between its earlier and later transient parts), yet there 
is not continuity between the effect and each inde- 
pendently necessary factor in the cause. The original 
experience is not joined on to the memory either 
directly ; or by transmission of a disturbance through a 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 459 

medium, as in the case of light or sound ; or by some 
special persistent which represents it, as on the trace- 
theory. If the possibility of mnemic causation is to be 
denied, it must be on the ground that one or other of 
these special kinds of continuity is needed in addition to 
the merely general continuity which the integrity of the 
brain and nervous system provides. I am not prepared 
to assert that this additional dose of continuity is 
needed ; and, therefore, I am not prepared to deny the 
possibility of mnemic causation, as modified by us in 
the course of the discussion. 

(2) The second remark which I wish to make about 
mnemic causation is the following. Suppose that ^j 
. . . r,i are independently necessary and jointly sufficient 
transient conditions for the happening of an event e. 
We will not now insist that they must all be contem- 
porary with each other, or that they shall " immediately 
precede" e or be continuous with it. But I do think 
that we should expect there to be some characteristic 
time-relation between them. Surely we should expect 
the law to be at least of somewhat the following form : 
''Whenever c^ is followed by ^^ after the interval /^^, 
and by c,^ after the interval /^g, . . . and by Cn after the 
interval t^ni ^ follows ; and e does not happen except 
when c^ . . . c^ have all happened with these character- 
istic intervals between them." No doubt in any causal 
law the absolute dates of the various factors are variable ; 
but one would expect the relative dates to be constant 
and characteristic of the law. Now let us apply this to 
the case of past experience, present stimulus and memory. 
Assuming the general persistent condition to be fulfilled, 
we find that the memory arises whenever the stimulus is 
given, so long as it is after the original experience ; i.e.^ 
there is no characteristic interval between the two 
transient conditions in the supposed mnemic causal law. 
Now I should be inclined to suppose that, whenever 
this is so, we have not got an ultimate causal law but 
only an empirical generalisation of the very crudest kind. 



46o THE UNCONSCIOUS 

(3) There is one other point rather closely connected 
with the above. Suppose we ask ourselves: "What 
is our usual test for the persistence of anything which 
is not under continuous observation?" I think that we 
should have to answer somewhat as follows. Suppose 
we find that throughout a long period of time whenever 
a certain condition C is fulfilled a certain result E im- 
mediately follows. And suppose we know that C by 
itself is not sufficient to produce E. Then we always 
assume that there is another persistent factor P with 
which the variable factor C co-operates to give the result 
E. E.g., one of my main reasons for believing that 
there is a persistent something, called "my table", in 
my room is that throughout a long period of time when- 
ever I look in a certain direction I become aware of an 
appearance of the table. I know that the mere fact of 
looking in this direction is not a sufficient condition 
of sensing this particular kind of appearance ; and I 
assume that the other necessary condition is the per- 
sistent something which I call "my table". But this 
is almost exactly parallel to remembering my past visit 
to a certain town whenever the proper stimulus is applied. 
I know that neither the stimulus nor the mere general 
integrity of brain and nervous system is enough to 
account for the occurrence of this particular memory at 
this particular time ; and I assume that there must be 
some other condition which is persistent. The plain 
fact is then that we have precisely the sanie^ kind of 
reason for believing in persistent traces as we have for 
believing in the persistence of tables^ when they are not 
under direct observation. If this test for persistence be 
a valid^one, we ought to apply it to memory as well as 
to perception ; and in that case we shall have to accept 
something like the trace-theory. If we refuse to apply 
the argument to traces we ought not to apply it to 
tables. We ought presumably to hold that later table- 
sensations are mnemically caused by the first table- 
sensation and the subsequent acts of looking in a certairi 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 461 

direction ; and we ought to reject the noti(jn of a per- 
sistent physical object as a superstition unworthy of 
the "Free Man". No one (not even Mr Russell in 
any of his published works) does in fact take this alterna- 
tive about the table ; and it seems scarcely consistent to 
take it about memory and then to refuse to extend it to 
the precisely parallel case of successive perceptions of 
what we call " the same thing ". 

Summary. I will now sum up the results of this 
discussion about mnemic causation. I have tried to 
explain clearly the difference between a mnemic and 
a non-mnemic event, and between mnemic and non- 
mnemic causation. In so doing I have stated the literal 
meaning of certain Pickwickian phrases which are used 
in the definitions. I have distinguished between the 
causal and the epistemological conditions of memory, 
and have explained and illustrated the four possible 
types of theory which arise when we allow the two 
kinds of condition to be either mnemic or non-mnemic. 
I then considered the arguments for and against mnemic 
causation in psychology. The only argument that I 
could find for it was the difficulty of conceiving the 
intrinsic nature of traces unless we take them to be 
purely material and thus pass outside the sphere of 
pure psychology. On the other side I argued that it 
is very doubtful whether causation can be reduced to 
mere regular sequence, and quite certain that not all 
kinds of regular sequence would be counted as instances 
of causation. If, then, the objections to mnemic causa- 
tion can be answered only on an extreme form of the 
regularity-theory of causation, it is doubtful whether 
they can be answered at all. I then showed that, even 
on a pure regularity-theory of causation, it is certain 
that the past experience and the present stimulus are 
not jointly sufficient to cause a memory. At the very 
least a general persistent condition, which fills the gap 
between the two, is needed also. If this be granted, 
the difference between the trace-theory and the theory 



462 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

of mnemic causation depends on whether a general per- 
sistent condition is enough or whether a jr/^a(2/ persistent 
condition, which depends on and " represents " the past 
experience, is also needed. I did not profess to be able 
to give a conclusive answer to this last question. But 
I pointed out that we might fairly expect a genuine 
mnemic law to involve characteristic time - intervals 
between the various independently necessary and non- 
contemporary transient conditions of an event. And 
we do not find this to be so in the case of memory. 
On the contrary we have here exactly the kind of situa- 
tion which anywhere else would make us postulate a 
special persistent condition. 

I do not pretend to have absolutely refuted the possi- 
bility of mnemic causation as an ultimate fact in mental 
life. But I do think that I have shown that we have 
very little ground for accepting it, and that we have 
exactly the same kind of evidence for the existence of 
traces and dispositions as we have for the persistence of 
physical objects when they are not under continuous 
observation. Under these circumstances I think we 
shall do well to accept some form of the trace-theory 
until some philosopher has successfully applied the 
theory of mnemic causation, not only to the special 
case of mental phenomena, but also to all cases where 
we assume the existence of special persistents in spite 
of their not being under continuous observation. Hence- 
forth, then, I shall assume that there really are such 
things as traces and dispositions, i.e., special " mnemic 
persistents," to revert to a name which we have already 
introduced. We must now consider the question : 
'* What is the intrinsic nature of mnemic persistents?" 

The Nature of Mnemic Persistents. — Let us begin by 
considering once more the case of material substances. 
We have agreed that here the causal characteristics are 
correlated with and dependent upon certain persistent 
non-causal characteristics. But, if we inquire more 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 463 

closely into the nature of the latter, we find that two 
different cases arise, (i) We may have both identity 
of stuff and persistence of structure. Take, e.g.^ the 
pillar-box which looks red whenever it is viewed in 
white light by a normal eye. Here we have the same 
particles persisting, and at each moment they have the 
same spatial structure. (2) Contrast this with the case 
of an organism. Here we have persistence of structure 
with continual change of stuff. Matter is continually 
passing into and out of the organism ; and the causal 
characteristics of the organism depend on the fact that, 
as new matter comes in, it is continually organised and 
arranged in the same characteristic way and thus replaces 
the matter which is continually going out. 

A purely Mental Theory of Traces. Now we might 
have a theory of purely mental traces analogous to the 
first of these possibilities if we adopted the Pure Ego 
theory of the self. The Pure Ego itself would be the 
persistent identical "stuff". And the causal charac- 
teristics of the mind might be correlated with various 
persistent states of the Pure Ego, On this view the 
existence of a trace would be the fact that the Pure Ego 
has a certain determinate non-causal characteristic at 
every moment within a certain period of time. Of 
course the analogy to the first possibility about material 
substances is only partial. There we had persistence 
of stuff and persistence of structure. Here, so far as 
we know, there would be no question of structure. 
There is persistence of stuff and an identical deter- 
minate quality possessed by this stuff for a certain 
period of time. But there is no reason to suppose 
this determinate quality in the possession of a certain 
internal structure ; for the whole notion of internal 
structure may be nonsense as applied to the Pure Ego. 

Could we conceive of a theory of purely mental traces 
without assuming the Pure Ego theory of the self? I 
think that we could, and that it would be partially, 
though not exactly, analogous to the second possibility 



464 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

about material substances. I will begin by pointing 
out that even a purely physiological theory of traces is 
incompatible with persistence of stuff. Suppose we 
compare a scar, due to a burn, with a dent in a leaden 
ball, due to a blow. The dent is simply a persistent 
spatial rearrangement of the same particles of matter as 
were present in the leaden ball before the blow dented 
it. The scar, on the other hand, may persist years after 
every particle of matter which was in the body when it 
was burnt has left it and been replaced by other matter. 
What happens is that the new matter as it comes in is 
continually arranged so that we still have the scar. 
Even if traces be purely physiological they must be of 
the same nature as the scar and not of the same nature 
as the dent; i.e., they persist through the same form 
being continually imposed on fresh matter, and not 
through the same matter retaining a certain form which 
has once been imposed on it. 

Now I have already said that, in many respects, an 
organism is a kind of half-way house between an in- 
organic material substance and a mind. It is, therefore, 
tempting to see whether we could not conceive of purely 
mental traces as analogous to scars in organic bodies. 
I will first point out where it seems to me that the 
analogy does not hold. Matter enters organisms from 
outside, is elaborated and arranged within them, remains 
there for some time, then gradually breaks down and is 
ejected. If we regard a mind as a complex whole of 
interrelated mental states, we can hardly suppose that 
new mental states come into the mind from elsewhere 
and pass from it after a while. If we take the "parts" 
of a mind to be its states, we must admit that the 
"parts" seem to be so dependent on the whole that it 
is doubtful whether they could have existed before they 
became parts of this whole or could exist after they have 
ceased to be parts of this whole. Another difference 
between a mind and an organism is the following. An 
organism exists continuously from birth to death, and 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 465 

at any two moments which are reasonably near together 
a great deal of the matter which composes it is the same. 
A mind, on the other hand, seems to cease to exist for 
considerable spells during dreamless sleep or fainting- 
fits, and then to take up its existence again at the point 
at which it left it. 

If we want to have a purely mental theory of traces 
we must first fill these gaps with something other than 
the persistence of a certain structure and the continuance 
of certain processes in the brain and nervous system. 
On the Pure Ego theory such gaps are filled by the 
continued existence of the Pure Ego and by the fact 
that the Pure Ego has certain determinate qualities 
throughout the whole period. But we are now trying 
to do without the Pure Ego theory. The only possible 
expedient is to suppose that the gaps are filled by 
literally unconscious and literally mental states and 
processes, which have to each other relations of the 
same kind as the conscious mental states and processes 
of waking life have to each other. These unconscious 
mental states and processes will not themselves be 
traces ; but, if we are prepared to grant their existence, 
we can give a theory of purely mental traces without 
assuming the Pure Ego theory. This can be done as 
follows. The relations between our ordinary conscious 
experiences, and the qualities of our ordinary con- 
scious experiences, may justly be called " mental relations 
and qualities ". But they are not themselves experiences, 
either conscious or unconscious. Now I would suggest 
the following as a possible theory about traces. Just 
before a certain moment my total state of mind consists 
of a set of mental events having certain qualities and 
standing in a certain characteristic relation to each other. 
Let us call these events ^j, e^j^ . . . ^„, and let us denote 
the relation which binds them all together into a single 
state of my mind by R. Then the total state of my 
mind just before / may be symbolised by R (r^, e.,_. . . e,'). 
Let us suppose that at ^ a " new " mental event happens 

2 G 



466 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

and forms part of my total state of mind at t. We 
will call this event E. By calling it "new" I mean 
that it is not a *' continuation " of any of the events e^ 
. . . ^„ ; it might, e.g,^ be a sensation due to someone 
suddenly sticking a pin into me. Most of the mental 
events which compose my total state of mind at t will be 
continuations of events which composed my total state 
of mind just before /, but probably some of these will 
not be continued. Let us suppose that e^ . . . e^ are 
continued as e\ . . . e\n, whilst ^,„+i . . . e^ are not 
continued. My total state of mind at / may then be 
symbolised by R {e\ . . . /™, E). Now I suggest that 
the presence of E modifies the qualities of e\ . . . e'^, 
or of some of them, in a characteristic way, so that those 
of them which are continued into my total state of mind 
just after t are continued in the specially modified forms 
e"Ei . . . e'j;^,. It is also possible that there is a character- 
istic modification in the relation which binds them 
together, so that it is now R-j. instead of R. On this 
hypothesis my total state of mind just after t is of the 
form Rg (/'j5i . . . e"E,n), assuming for the sake of 
simplicity that no further "new" experience has taken 
place. We have now got our "trace" formed. We 
must next assume that this " E-quality " or this 
" E-relation " is henceforth imposed on the contents or 
the structure of each successive total state by the state 
that precedes it, very much as the scar is imposed on 
the new matter which comes into an organism from 
outside. On some such lines as these we can conceive 
of purely mental traces without needing to assume a 
Pure Ego ; provided we are willing to admit that there 
are no real gaps in mental life and that the apparent 
gaps are filled up by non-introspectible mental events, 
which are of the same general nature and have the same 
kind of mutual relations as those which we can intro- 
spect. The trace is not itself a mental event, but is a 
characteristic modification in the qualities of mental 
events or in the relation which binds contemporary 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 467 

mental events into a single total state of mind. And 
this characteristic modification of quality or structure 
is imposed on each total state by the total state which 
immediately precedes it. 

I do not think that it would be necessary to suppose 
that all the events in any total state have this characteristic 
qualitative modification imposed on them. So long as 
some events in every total state after the occurrence of 
the "new" experience are modified in this way, we 
have as much as we need. Again, I do not think that 
it would be necessary to assume that the relation which 
is modified in a characteristic way is the relation which 
binds together all the events of a single mental state. 
It would suffice if some relation which binds together a 
sub-group of contemporary mental events were modified 
in this characteristic way and if this modified relation 
were handed on from this sub-group in any total state 
to the corresponding sub - group in its immediate 
successor. 

It is then possible to conceive of a purely '* mental " '^ 
theory of mind without assuming the Pure Ego theory. 
A mind will, on this view, be composed entirely of 
mental events. Some of these are introspectible and 
others are not. Again, certain of these mental events 
will be related to each other so as to form series of a 
characteristic kind. Such series will be mental processes. 
Some mental processes will be wholly imperceptible, i.e.^ 
none of the successive mental events which compose 
them will be introspectible. Others will be perceptible, 
i.e., some of the mental events which compose them will 
be introspectible and will be objects of simultaneous 
undiscriminating awareness. But there will be imper- 
ceptible parts of perceptible mental processes. On the 
present view, the imperceptible parts of perceptible 
mental processes, and the wholly imperceptible mental 
processes, will be in all other respects of precisely the 
same nature as the introspectible parts of perceptible 
mental processes. All mental processes will depend on 



/ 



468 



THE UNCONSCIOUS 



y 



traces and dispositions. But these traces and dis- 
positions, though not themselves mental events or 
processes^ will be purely mental ; for they are just 
certain qualities of the mental events of one total state 
of mind, which are handed down to the mental events 
of the next total state of mind, and so on indefinitely. 
Or they are just certain relations between the mental 
events composing one total state of mind, which are 
impressed upon the mental events composing the next 
total state of mind, and so on indefinitely. 

A pm'ely Physiological Theory of Traces. Let us now 
consider the alternative which lies at the opposite 
extreme to that which we have been treating above. On 
this view traces are simply modifications in the minute 
spatial or spatio-temporal structure of our brains and 
nervous systems, which are propagated from one state of 
the brain and nervous system to the next state in the 
way in which a scar on one's arm due to a burn is 
propagated for the rest of one's life. I think that the 
natural complement of such a theory of traces would be 
to hold that the non-introspectible " parts " of percep- 
tible mental processes are not strictly mental at all, but 
are purely physiological events. And, in that case, of 
course they are not, strictly speaking, " parts " at all. 
The position will be that there are certain physiological 
processes, some parts of which are accompanied by 
mental events which depend on them, and other parts 
of which are not accompanied by mental events at all. 
And there will be other physiological processes which 
are exactly like those which are accompanied by mental 
events except in the fact that they are not accompanied 
by any mental events. Thus "unconscious mental 
processes " will not really be mental at all j and the 
natural accompaniment of a purely physiological i.heory 
of traces is an epiphenomenalist theory of the nature of 
mind. The mind ceases to be a genuine substance 
theoretically capable of existing in its own right. 

I say that this would be the " natural " complement of 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 469 

a purely physiological theory of traces and dispositions. 
I do not say that it would be an absolutely necessary 
consequence of such a theory. It is possible that those 
parts of a certain physiological process which are not 
accompanied by introspectible mental events are accom- 
panied by non-introspectible mental events of a similar 
kind to the introspectible mental events which accom- 
pany other parts of the same physiological process. 
And it is possible that those physiological processes, no 
part of which is accompanied by introspectible mental 
events, are nevertheless accompanied by non-intro- 
spectible mental events. But, although this hypothesis 
would be possible on a purely physiological theory 
of traces and dispositions, it would seem to be quite 
unmotived. At most it could be supported only by 
arguments from analogy. Since some parts of a certain 
physiological process are accompanied by introspectible 
mental events, and since the later of these events seems 
to be an obvious development of the earlier, it might be 
argued that the part of the physiological process which 
fills the gap between two such introspectible mental 
events must be very much like those parts of the process 
which are accompanied by introspectible mental events. 
By analogy it might be argued that probably this part 
too is accompanied by mental events which fill the gap 
between those which we can introspect, but which, for 
some reason, are not introspectible by us. I do not see 
that this extra hypothesis would help us to explain any- 
thing that could not be explained without it ; we must 
content ourselves with saying that it would be neither 
necessary nor impossible. The situation is, I think, 
quite different in the case of a purely mental theory of 
traces. Here we must postulate either a Pure Ego or a 
continuous series of total mental states ; for, if we do 
not do this, we have nothing mental to carry the traces. 
And, since there are certainly gaps in our introspectible 
experiences, we must fill them with non-introspectible 
mental events if we want to keep to a purely mental 



470 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

theory of traces, and at the same time to avoid the 
hypothesis of a Pure Ego. 

Is there any conclusive objection to a purely physio- 
logical theory of traces and dispositions, and to the 
purely epiphenomenal theory of mind which seems to 
me to be its natural complement? At first sight there 
seem to be several objections, and the question is 
whether they are really conclusive. (i) We have 
certain experiences in which it seems to us that our 
minds are acting on our bodies, and we have other 
experiences in which it seems to us that our bodies are 
acting on our minds. The voluntary initiation and 
control of bodily movements is an example of the first 
kind of experience, and the occurrence of a new sensation 
is an example of the second kind. Now, it might be 
said that this distinction between "active" and "passive" 
experiences could not exist, if epiphenomenalism were 
true ; for in all cases our experiences would be merely 
idle accompaniments of certain physiological processes, 
and the latter would be the only real "agents". I do 
not think that this is the right way of putting the case. 
It is true that the interpretation which we put on this 
distinction would be mistaken, but it seems to me that 
the existence of the distinction could be explained per- 
fectly well on the epiphenomenalist theory. Let us 
consider the observable differences between a volition 
which is followed by the desired bodily movement, and 
a sensation which arises when someone sticks a pin 
into me. The volition forms the end-point of a certain 
conscious mental process, viz., a process of deliberation, 
which has a characteristic kind of internal unity. It is 
no doubt succeeded by other mental events, but they do 
not form a continuation of the process of deliberation. 
The subsequent events which are specially closely con- 
nected with the volition are simply the sensations due 
to the bodily movement. Now contrast this with the 
new sensation. This is not a continuation of any con- 
scious mental process which was going on before it 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 471 

happened, though it may form the starting- point of a 
characteristic conscious mental process which succeeds 
it. The previous events with which it is most closely 
connected are events in my body which are unaccom- 
panied by conscious mental events. We feel "passive" 
par excellence at those critical points where a physio- 
logical process which is not accompanied by conscious- 
ness passes into a physiological process which is 
accompanied by consciousness of a characteristic kind. 
We feel "active" par excellence at those critical points 
where a physiological process which has been accom- 
panied by a series of mental events so related as to 
form a single conscious process passes into a physio- 
logical process which is either not accompanied by 
consciousness at all or is accompanied by mental events 
which are not continuations of the previous conscious 
mental process. Thus epiphenomenalism would seem 
to be quite capable of accounting for the existence of 
the distinction in question. 

(2) A rather similar difficulty could be raised over the 
distinction between mere passive association of ideas 
and active deliberate thinking, in which we select ideas 
and control the processes of association. It might be 
said that the former is compatible with epiphenomenalism 
and that the latter is not. I think that we can make a 
very similar answer to that which we made to the 
previous objection. If epiphenomenalism be true, the 
process of deliberate thinking is no doubt correlated 
with a peculiar physiological process, and the associa- 
tion of ideas is correlated with a different physiological 
process. And, doubtless, the two physiological pro- 
cesses are so connected that [a) the latter can go in 
the absence of the former, {b) the former depends for its 
possibility on the traces and dispositions which are 
involved in the latter, and {c) when the former is going 
on it greatly and characteristically modifies the latter. 
A process of the former kind may supervene at a certain 
stage in the course of a process of the latter kind, and 



472 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

at that stage we shall pass from mere day-dreaming 
to active and deliberate thinking. Thus the observable 
distinction seems to be quite capable of explanation by 
epiphenomenalism, though the interpretation which we 
commonly put upon it will not be strictly accurate if 
epiphenomenalism be true. 

(3) A third objection which might be made is the 
following. "Does not epiphenomenalism amount to 
saying that conscious mental events and conscious 
mental processes are ' appearances of certain physio- 
logical events and processes, just as colour and tempera- 
ture are supposed to be 'appearances of certain move- 
ments of molecules and electrons? And must not an 
appearance of something be an appearance to someone 
who is not an appearance? Does not the epipheno- 
menalist theory thus tacitly assume the existence of a 
mind in a sense in which it explicitly denies that minds 
exist? And is it not therefore radically inconsistent?" 
This objection sounds plausible, but I do not think 
that there is anything in it. Epiphenomenalism may 
be taken to assert one of two things, {a) That certain 
events which have physiological characteristics have 
also mental characteristics, and that no events which 
lack physiological characteristics have mentalcharacter- 
istics. That many events which have physiological 
characteristics are not known to have mental character- 
istics. And that an event which has mental character- 
istics never causes another event in virtue of its mental 
characteristics, but only in virtue of its physiological 
characteristics. Or {b) that no event has both mental 
and physiological characteristics ; but that the complete 
cause of any event which has mental characteristics is 
an event or set of events which has physiological 
characteristics. And that no event which has mental 
characteristics is a cause-factor in the causation of any 
other event whatever, whether mental or physiological. 

It seems plain that neither of these alternative state- 
ments of epiphenomenalism involves any tacit reference 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 473 

to the existence of a ''mind" in some sense which is 
inconsistent with epiphenomenalism. " But," it might 
be said, "this is not the whole truth about the matter. 
Some events which have mental characteristics are 
states of knowing other things. And, again, some events 
which have mental characteristics do not merely exist 
but are themselves known by the mind which owns 
them. Does not this involve the existence of a ' mind ' 
in some sense which epiphenomenalism cannot accept? " 
It seems to me that this is not an objection which 
applies specially and directly to epiphenomenalism. 
Epiphenomenalism asserts nothing positive about the 
qualities and relations of mental events, and it denies 
only one thing about them. It simply says that mental 
events either {a) do not function at all as cause-factors ; 
or {b) that, if they do, they do so in virtue of their 
physiological characteristics and not in virtue of their 
mental characteristics. It has no need to deny that 
certain mental events stand in the cognitive relation to 
other things ; for the relation of cognising is not, and 
does not involve, the relation of causation between the 
terms which it connects. And it has no need to deny 
that two mental events may be so related that one is 
cognised by the other. Of course epiphenomenalism 
does tacitly deny the Pure Ego theory, and it does 
explicitly deny that the unity of a mind is a direct 
causal unity. But it denies nothing else. In particular 
it has no need to deny that certain contemporary mental 
events are bound together by unique and very intim.ate 
relations, so that they together compose a single total 
mental state. And it has no need to deny that certain 
successive total mental states are bound together by 
unique and very intimate relations, so that they together 
form a single mind. The objection under discussion 
therefore applies, not directly and specially to epipheno- 
menalism, but to the view that knowledge (and, in 
particular, self-knowledge) can be explained without a 
Pure Ego or without direct causal relations between 



474 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

mental events. And this is a question which we are 
not at present in a position to discuss. 

(4) The last objection which I propose to consider is 
the following. It might be said that the hypothesis 
that there are literally unconscious desires, emotions, 
etc., and that they literally interact with each other in 
the way in which conscious desires and emotions 
appear to interact, is found to be practically useful by 
psycho-analysts and others. This kind of hypothesis 
does enable them to suggest methods of treatment, and 
often to effect cures. The hypothesis of purely physio- 
logical traces, dispositions, and processes is not found to 
be practically effective. Therefore, probably the former 
hypothesis is approximately correct, and the latter is 
probably wrong. 

I think that there is little or nothing in this argument. 
Two conscious desires appear to interact in certain 
characteristic ways. If the epiphenomenalist be right, 
they do not really interact. But each is correlated 
with a characteristic physiological process, and these 
physiological processes really do interact with each 
other, thus producing characteristic modifications in 
the series of observable mental events. Now the 
patient observes a certain series of mental events which 
is modified in this characteristic way, and he fails to 
find any other series of conscious mental events which 
seems to account for this modification in the former. 
Let us suppose that his psycho-analyst is an epi- 
phenomenalist. Then he would simply postulate the 
existence of a physiological process which (1^) is not 
accompanied by any mental events which the patient 
can introspect, but [b) is otherwise of the same general 
nature as the physiological processes which are accom- 
panied by a conscious mental process of conation. If 
he chooses to assume that this is accompanied by a 
conative mental process which the patient cannot intro- 
spect, he is simply using an argument from analogy 
which may be good or bad but is quite irrelevant to any 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 475 

predictions that he may make or to any course of 
treatment that he may devise. It is no doubt also true 
that he is not helped in any way by assuming that this 
process is physiological ; but he is also not hindered by 
this assumption. The point is that, even if the process 
be physiological, he does not know anything about its 
physiological details ; he knows it only as "the sort of 
process which would generally be accompanied by a 
conscious conation or emotion of a certain kind ". So 
long as it acts as such a process might be expected to 
act it makes no difference to his predictions whether its 
intrinsic nature be physiological or mental or both or 
neither. Thus the success of psycho-analytic treatment 
which assumes literally unconscious conations and 
emotions, and the ill-success of methods of treatment 
which assume a certain hypothetical structure and 
processes in the brain and nervous system, seems to me 
to have no bearing one way or the other on the truth of 
epiphenomenalism. 

The Choice between the Two Theories. I have argued 
that it is perfectly possible to hold a purely mental 
theory of traces and dispositions, with or without the 
Pure Ego theory of the self. And I have argued that 
it is perfectly possible to hold a purely physiological 
theory of traces and dispositions. A purely mental 
theory of mnemic persistents, which does not accept the 
Pure Ego, requires the assumption of literally un- 
conscious mental processes ; but there seems to be no 
conclusive objection to this. A purely physiological 
theory of mnemic persistents permits the assumption of 
literally unconscious mental processes, but renders this 
assumption superfluous. There is nothing to choose 
between the two types of theory so far as concerns our 
ability to predict and control mental events. Whether 
traces and dispositions be purely mental, or purely 
physiological, or both, or neither, we know absolutely 
nothing about them in detail, and can predict nothing 
from one hypothesis about their intrinsic nature which 



476 THE UNCONSCIOUS 

we could not predict equally well from any other 
hypothesis. The fact is that we know what they are 
only from what they do^ and our knowledge of what 
they do is equally compatible with either of the four 
possible theories about what they are. Is there then 
the slightest possibility of deciding even tentatively in 
favour of one rather than of another? 

If there be no phenomena which give us any reason 
to believe that minds can exist and operate after the 
destruction of the bodies which they have animated, I 
V think that there will be some reason to prefer the epiphe- 
/ nomenalist theory on the ground that it involves fewer 
assumptions than the others. We know that our brains 
and nervous systems exist throughout our lives, and 
that they are very closely connected with our minds. 
We know that our conscious mental life is subject to 
great interruptions, and we do not know that these gaps 
are filled by literally mental processes which we cannot 
introspect or remember. Since the brain and nervous 
system are capable of carrying the necessary traces 
and dispositions, and since processes in the brain and 
nervous system are capable of filling the temporal gaps 
between our introspectible mental events, it would seem 
superfluous to postulate mental traces and dispositions 
or literally unconscious mental events and processes in 
addition. Thus, unless there be reason to believe that 
minds can survive the death of their bodies, I should 
consider that some form of epiphenomenalism was the 
most reasonable view to take of the nature of mind and 
its relation to the body. I have said, and I repeat, that 
all the arguments against interaction are invalid. I 
have said, and I repeat, that a purely mental theory 
of traces and dispositions is perfectly possible with or 
without the assumption of a Pure Ego. All that I assert 
here is that epiphenomenalism is also a possible theory ; 
and that, if there be no reason to believe that the mind 
ever exists apart from the body, this theory is to be 
preferred as involving the minimum of assumptions. 



TRACES AND DISPOSITIONS 477 

It is plain that we can get no further till we have 
considered the alleged evidence for the doctrine that 
minds can and do exist apart from bodies. If this 
evidence produces even a faint probability, it will be 
rash to accept epiphenomenalism. For epiphenomen- a 
alism would seem to be quite inconsistent with the very * 
possibility of the independent existence of a mind. The / 
very essence of this doctrine is that the mind by itself ( 
is not a genuine substance capable of independent exist- ) 
ence, but either consists of events which are also bodily K 
or is absolutely dependent for its existence on such i 
events. Now we have no strong positive ground for [ 
accepting epiphenomenalism ; the alternative theories 
are equally possible, and much more in accordance with 
common-sense. We have given a tentative preference 
to epiphenomenalism only on grounds of '' economy " ; 
a theory supported only in this way could be overthrown 
by a very light blow. In the next section of this book 
I propose to consider the alleged evidence for the exist- 
ence of minds apart from bodies. 



i 

I 



SECTION D 

Introductory Remarks 

" By the mere light of reason it seems difficult to prove the 
Immortality of the Soul. The arguments for it are commonly 
derived either from metaphysical topics, or moral, or physical. 
But, in reality, it is the Gospel, and the Gospel alone, that has 
brought life and immortality to light. . . . Nothing could set 
in a fuller light the infinite obligations which mankind have to 
Divine revelation ; since we find that no other medium could 
ascertain this great and important truth." 

(Hume, Essay on the Immortality of the Soul) 



SECTION D 

Alleged Evidence for Human vSurvival of 
Bodily Death 

Introductory Remarks 

In this section I am going to consider certain causes 
which have led people to believe that the human mind 
can and does sometimes exist apart from the human 
body. And I am going to consider how far these 
causes are also adequate reasons. It is worth while to 
remark that, for our purpose, arguments which led to 
the view that the human mind existed before it became 
connected with its present body would be just as im- 
portant as arguments which led to the view that it exists 
after the destruction of its body. And arguments which 
led to the conclusion that a human mind can become 
temporarily disconnected with its body during life, 
can function during this interval, and can then again 
animate the body would be equally important for our 
purposes. For, if there be reason to believe that a 
human mind can ever exist and function apart from a 
human body, it will be almost impossible to accept the 
epiphenomenalist theory of the mind and its relations to 
the body. I propose, however, to deal only with argu- 
ments which claim to prove that human minds survive 
the destruction of the bodies which they have animated ; 
the other possibilities will be considered only in so far 
as they are involved in certain arguments for survival. 

I think that men have believed in human survival for 
five reasolTs."'(T)" Some have thought that it was im- 
mediately obvious or that they had received a divine 

481 2 H 



482 EVIDENCE FOR HUMAN SURVIVAL 

revelation which assured them of it. (2) Others have 
believed it on authority. (3) Some have thought that 
it could be proved by general metaphysical arguments. 
(4) Some have thought that it follows from certain 
ethical premises. And (5) some have thought that there 
is special empirical evidence in favour of it. I shall say 
what I have to say about the first three causes of the 
belief in these Introductory Remarks, and I shall devote 
one chapter to ethical arguments and one to empirical 
arguments. 

(i) Most of us do not find the proposition that our 
minds will survive the destruction of our present bodies 
in the least self-evident. And most of us do not claim 
to have received personally a divine revelation on this 
or on any other subject. And, if I believe in survival 
because I believe that it is immediately certain to some- 
one else or that it has been divinely revealed to someone 
else, I am believing it on authority. So that it is certain 
that the vast majority of people who believe in human 
survival must do so either on authority or because of 
some kind of argument which seems to them to make it 
certain or probable. 

(2) We all of us believe a great many propositions 
on the authority of others, and we should be behaving 
very unreasonably if we did not. We must, therefore, 
try to distinguish the cases where it is reasonable to 
believe something on authority from those where it is 
not reasonable to do so. And we must then consider 
whether the proposition that human minds survive the 
death of their bodies is or is not one which it is reason- 
able to believe on authority, {a) My authority may 
himself believe the proposition as the result of an 
argument, which is too difficult or unfamiliar for me to 
follow for myself. I am then justified in attaching con- 
siderable probability to his conclusion, provided (i) that 
r accept his premises ; (ii) that I can follow and accept 
simpler arguments of the same kind as he has used to 
prove this proposition ; (iii) that I know that men's 



INTRODUCTORY REMARKS 483 

capacities for following arguments of this kind vary, 
and (iv) that other experts who have looked into the 
matter for themselves all come to the same conclusion. 
I am, e.g., justified in attaching considerable weight 
to any proposition in the Theory of Numbers which 
Professor Hardy and Mr Littlewood tell me that they 
have proved. Now a great many much better philoso- 
phers than I {e.g., Plato and St Thomas) have persuaded 
themselves by argument of the truth of human survival. 
Ought I then to attach a high probability to this pro- 
position on their authority? It does not seem to me 
that I ought. For (i) I am quite competent to follow 
their arguments, and they seem to me not to be valid, 
(ii) They use premises which seem to me very doubt- 
ful. And (iii) there is no consensus among experts 
either about the validity of these arguments or the truth 
of the premises. Kant was a greater philosopher than 
I, and he thought such arguments involve logical 
fallacies. Spinoza was a greater philosopher than I, 
and he rejected the premises of such arguments. 

{b) My authority may believe a certain proposition 
because he has access to facts which I cannot perceive 
for myself. These facts may be imperceptible to me 
simply because I am not placed in a suitable position 
in space and time for perceiving them ; or because 1 
lack the necessary instruments of precision and the 
necessary training in using such instruments ; or because 
my mind or body or both lack certain powers which 
are possessed by the mind and body of my authority. 
On the first two alternatives my authority claims only 
to be perceiving something of the same ki?id as Lean 
perceive ; and there is no reason why I should not be 
able to perceive it too, if I went to the right place and 
did the right things. If I have reason to believe that 
my authority is a skilled experimenter and observer, 
and if he is believed to be so by other experts, it is 
rational to attach considerable weight to what he asserts. 
This weight will, of course, be increased if other experts 



484 EVIDENCE FOR HUMAN SURVIVAL 

perform the same experiments and observations and 
reach similar results. It is on such grounds as this 
that it is rational for me to attach considerable proba- 
bility to statements made by Professor Rutherford or 
Dr Aston about the experimental splitting of atoms. 
But, when people are said to believe in survival on the 
authority of some religious teacher, the situation is not 
at all closely analogous to this. They suppose that 
the religious teacher is either himself a divine being 
or that he has received his information directly from 
some divine being. The Christian who believes in 
survival on the authority of Christ is an example of 
the former case, and the Mohammedan who believes 
it on the authority of Mohammed is an example of the 
latter. Let us consider this kind of authority a little 
more closely. 

The ultimate authority in either case is the supposed 
divine being. Before accepting such statements on 
authority we must therefore satisfy ourselves (i) that our 
religious teacher was a divine being or was inspired by 
one ; (ii) that he has been properly reported ; (iii) that 
the divine being knows the truth about the question 
under consideration ; and (iv) that the divine being is 
not intentionally deceiving us, or accommodating his 
statements to the current beliefs of the time and place, 
or speaking metaphorically. Lastly (v) if our authority 
is not supposed to be himself divine, but only to be 
divinely inspired, we must be sure that he has not 
deliberately or unwittingly falsified the message with 
which he has been entrusted. I can only say that I 
know of no historical case in which there seems to me to 
be any strong reason to believe that all these conditions 
have been fulfilled. The question has been discussed by 
Mr Hobbes with his usual acuteness in Chapter XXXII 
of the Leviathan, where he writes as follows. '' If a 
man pretend to me that God hath spoken to him 
immediately and supernaturally, and I make doubt 
of it, I cannot easily perceive what argument he can 



INTRODUCTORY REMARKS 485 

produce to oblige me to believe it. It is true that, if 
he be my Sovereign, he may oblige me to obedience so 
as not by act or word to dedm-e I believe him not ; but 
not to think any otherwise than my reason persuades 
me. But, if one that hath not such authority over me 
shall pretend the same, there is nothing that exacteth 
either belief or obedience." (My italics.) I find nothing 
to add to Mr Hobbes's statement or to alter in it. 

(3) I pass now to the case of general metaphysical 
arguments in favour of human survival. These are 
at present somewhat out of fashion ; and I think it 
would be generally admitted that the older kind of 
argument which Kant dealt with in the Paralogisms of 
Pure Reaso7t really was refuted by Kant. The only 
modern philosopher of importance, so far as I know, 
who claims to prove the immortality of the soul by ^ 
general metaphysical arguments is Dr M'Taggart. He 
points out quite rightly that all such arguments have an 
a priori and an empirical part. The a priori part 
consists in proving that anything which had certain 
characteristics would necessarily be permanent. The 
empirical part consists in showing that the human mind 
has such characteristics. How then do such argu- 
ments differ from those which I call "empirical"? 
The difference is this. An empirical argument for 
survival takes certain special phenomena, viz., those 
which are dealt with by Psychical Research. And it 
argues that the hypothesis of human survival explains 
these phenomena better than any other hypothesis that 
we can think of. Such an argument of course uses 
a priori principles of logic and probability, as every 
argument does. But it has no a priori premise. In 
this respect it differs fundamentally from such an 
argument as M'Taggart's, and is of exactly the same 
kind as the arguments for the wave-theory of light or 
the constitution of the benzene molecule. 

Now I cannot prove that all general metaphysical 
arguments for human survival must necessarily be 



486 EVIDENCE FOR' HUMAN SURVIVAL 

invalid. I can only say that all that I am acquainted 
with seem to be extremely doubtful either in their 
a priori part or in their empirical part or in both. 
And they are so much bound up with elaborate meta- 
physical systems, and have persuaded so few men beside 
their authors, that I propose to ignore them here. We 
are thus left with Ethical Arguments and Special 
Empirical Arguments. I shall deal with the former 
in the next chapter, and with the latter in the chapter 
which follows it. I may say at once that my own view 
is that, if human survival can be rendered probable at 
all, this can be done only by empirical arguments based 
on the phenomena which are treated by Psychical 
Research. 



CHAPTER XI 

Ethical Arguments for Human Survival 

It has been held by many philosophers that all 
arguments from *' value" to " fact " or from "ought" 
to "is" are necessarily invalid. I have certainly 
expressed this view myself from time to time. I 
believe now that this is not true without qualification ; 
and that, if certain conditions be fulfilled, such argu- 
ments are not necessarily fallacious. Whether any of 
them in fact succeed in proving their conclusions is of 
course another matter. I will, therefore, begin by 
discussing in general terms the question whether such 
arguments can ever be valid, and, if so, what conditions 
an argument of this kind must fulfil in order not to be 
logically fallacious. 

The Logical Status of Ethical Arguments with Factual 
Conclusions. An ethical argument is one that uses at 
least one ethical premise ; we must, therefore, begin by 
explaining what is meant by an "ethical premise". 
I assume at the outset that there are certain purely 
ethical characteristics, i.e.^ characteristics which cannot 
be identified with or defined in terms of non-ethical or 
"natural" characteristics. I should consider that the 
characteristics of being " intrinsically good " or "right" 
or "a duty" are examples of purely ethical charac- 
teristics. Now presumably some ethical characteristics 
are simple and indefinable, whilst others can be analysed 
and defined in terms of other ethical characteristics. 
E.g.^ some people have held that a " right action " may 
be defined as "an action which has as good con- 

4b7 



488 EVIDENCE FOR HUMAN SURVIVAL 

sequences as any action which is possible to the agent". 
Again, even when an ethical characteristic is not defin- 
able, there may be synthetic propositions about its 
properties or about its connexions with other ethical 
characteristics. E.g.^ we may say that the goodness of 
a whole is not necessarily the sum of the goodness 
which each of its parts would have in isolation. Again, 
we might hold that both "good" and "right" are 
indefinable, and yet accept the synthetic proposition 
that no action is right which does not have at least as 
good consequences as any action which is possible for 
the agent. I think that 1 can now define what I mean 
by a " purely ethical proposition ". It will be a proposi- 
tion which either {a) states that a certain ethical charac- 
teristic {e.g.^ "good") is indefinable; or {b) analyses it 
in terms of other ethical characteristics ; or (^) states 
some intrinsic property of an ethical characteristic {e.g.^ 
that it is quantitative, that it is not simply additive, etc.); 
or {d) states some synthetic connexion between two or 
more ethical characteristics. 

Now I think that it is certain that no argument all of 
whose premises are purely ethical propositions can lead 
to a factual conclusion. But I am very doubtful whether 
anyone has ever used such an argument. Now there 
are other propositions which involve ethical charac- 
teristics, which I will call " mixed ethical propositions". 
These assert a synthetic connexion between an ethical 
characteristic and one or more non-ethical characteristics. 
I will give some examples. " No action can be a duty 
unless it be physically possible for the agent to perform 
it." " No state of affairs can be good or bad unless it 
is or contains as a constituent some conscious mental 
state." "The goodness of any state of affairs depends 
on nothing but the balance of pleasure which it contains, 
and is directly proportional to this balance." All these 
are mixed ethical propositions ; the first being true, the 
second highly probable, and the third certainly false. 
Mixed ethical propositions can always be put into one 



ETHICAL ARGUMENTS FOR SURVIVAL 489 

of the two forms : " If anything had the ethical charac- 
teristic E it would have the non- ethical characteristic 
N," or *' If anything had the non-ethical characteristic 
N it would have the ethical characteristic E." Any 
ethical argument with a factual conclusion must contain 
a mixed ethical premise of the first kind in order to be 
logically valid. 

We can now go a step further. The mixed ethical 
premise is essentially hypothetical. The conclusion is 
categorical. It follows that one premise must be 
categorical, if the argument is to be logically valid. 
And it is plain that the categorical premise must be of 
the form: "Something does have the ethical charac- 
teristic E ". We can then conclude that something 
does have the non-ethical characteristic N. I have now 
stated what Mr Johnson would call the "constitutive 
conditions " for the validity of such arguments. We 
must now consider what he would call the "epistemic 
conditions ". If the argument is not to be circular we 
must be able to know (a) that if anything had E it would 
have N, and {b) that something has E, without having 
to know beforehand that something has N. 

We may divide up ethical arguments on two different 
principles, thus getting four different kinds of ethical 
argument which might possibly be valid. (i) The 
ethical characteristic under consideration might be 
"good", or it might be "right" or "duty", (ii) The 
factual premise might take the form "Something has 
E" or the more determinate form "This has E ". E.g., 
it might take the form "Some actions are right" or 
"This action is right". Of course the latter entails the 
former. But it is plain that the argument is stronger if 
it only has to use the milder premise. We might be 
pretty certain that some actions which have been per- 
formed have been right, but doubtful whether any 
particular action which was brought to our notice was 
right. 

This seems to me to be about as much as we can say 



490 EVIDENCE FOR HUMAN SURVIVAL 

about the general question of whether ethical arguments 
with factual conclusions can ever be logically valid. 
We have seen that they can be if they fulfil certain 
conditions, and we have stated exactly what those con- 
ditions are. I propose now to give an example of an 
ethical argument which seems to me to fulfil the con- 
ditions and to prove its conclusion. I think that Kant's 
argument from duty to freedom is a case in point. It 
may be put as follows. "If it can ever be truly said 
that it is a duty to perform (or to avoid) an act, it must 
have been possible for the agent to perform it and 
possible for him not to perform it. Now there are some 
acts of which it is true to say that they ought to have 
been done (or avoided). Hence there are some acts 
which their agent could have performed and could have 
avoided." It is plain that this argument fulfils the 
constitutive conditions. It seems to me clear that the 
ethical premise can be known to be true by merely 
reflecting on the conceptions of " duty " and of " possi- 
bility ", and that it is not necessary to know beforehand 
that some acts which have been done could have been 
avoided or that some acts which have been avoided 
could have been done. So that the first epistemic con- 
dition is fulfilled. I am also inclined to believe that we 
can know that the characteristics ''ought" and "ought 
not" have application without having to know before- 
hand that some actions which are done could have 
been avoided, and that some actions which have been 
avoided could have been done. It is diflicult to be sure 
of this because every one does in practice believe the 
conclusion of Kant's argument. Assuming that the 
above statement is true, Kant's argument fulfils the 
second epistemic condition, and proves its conclusion. 
Unfortunately the only conclusion which it certainly 
proves is not of much interest. It no doubt makes it 
almost certain that we are in some sense "free" in some 
of our voluntary actions. But it is not in the least 
certain that the " freedom " required is inconsistent with 



ETHICAL ARGUMENTS FOR SURVIVAL 491 

determinism. And we could have reached the con- 
clusion that we are "free" in several very important 
senses without appealing to ethical arguments at all. It 
seems to me doubtful whether Kant's ethical argument 
proves that we are "free" in any sense of "freedom" 
which could not have been established by direct in- 
spection ; and all these senses seem to me to be probably 
consistent with complete determinism. 

I will now give an example of an ethical argument 
which seems to me obviously to fail to fulfil the con- 
ditions and to be invalid. We might argue as follows. 
"Unless God existed it would not be our duty to 
address private prayers to him. It is our duty to 
address private prayers to God. Therefore God must 
exist." (I put in the qualification "private", because 
it might be my duty to address public prayers to God, 
even if he does not exist and I do not believe that he 
exists, if the State of which I am a member orders its 
citizens to do so by an act which has been properly 
introduced, discussed, and passed into law.) Now the 
above argument seems to me to break the second epis- 
temic condition. I do not think that it could possibly 
be maintained that I can know that it is my duty to 
address private prayers to God unless I already know 
that God exists. Hence this ethical argument for the 
existence of God would be circular. 

Professor Taylor's Arguments for Immortality. Now 

that we understand the logic of ethical arguments for 
factual conclusions we can consider the special ethical 
arguments for human survival. These arguments have 
been stated in many forms. Fortunately the essence 
of them has been put with admirable persuasiveness, 
brevity, and clearness by Professor A. E. Taylor in an 
article called "The Moral Argument for Immortality" 
in the Holborn Review. As I have no expectation of 
seeing the case put better than Professor Taylor puts 
it there, I will take this article as the text for my dis- 



492 EVIDENCE FOR HUMAN SURVIVAL 

cussion. I think that the article contains two distinct 
arguments, though Professor Taylor passes from the 
first to the second without definitely saying that he is 
making a transition. 

The Argument from Duty. Crudely stated, the first 
argument comes to this. If we and all the human race 
will eventually die, certain acts which it would be our 
duty to do on the opposite alternative will not be duties. 
And certain other acts, which it would be wrong to do 
if we were immortal, would be harmless and reasonable 
enougfh if the lives of ourselves and our fellows are 
limited to the three-score years and ten which we spend 
in this mortal body. The duties of a Christian are the 
right and reasonable behaviour of a man who is going 
to survive the death of his body ; they are not right or 
reasonable if we die with our bodies. The reasonable 
course of life on the latter alternative would be that 
which is sketched for us in Horace's Odes. Now we 
know that it is right for us to live in accordance with 
the Christian ethics, and that it is wrong to live in 
accordance with the Horatian ethics. Since the latter 
mode of life would not be wrong if we were mortal, we 
can conclude that we are not mortal. I will deal with 
this argument first. 

It is not in the least necessary for the argument to 
assume that the Christian ethics are wholly right or the 
Horatian ethics wholly wrong. I must confess that it 
seems to me that Professor Taylor allows much too 
much to the Horatian ethics, even on the assumption of 
human mortality. He seems to suggest that, if we all 
die with our bodies, the only reasonable course of action 
is to enjoy the passing hour. I should have supposed 
that, even if the belief that I and the race will perish 
makes it unreasonable for me to trouble about anything 
but my own pleasure, the reasonable course of life for 
me might be very different from that which Horace 
recommends. If champagne gives me a headache I 
shall be foolish to take too much of it merely because I 



ETHICAL ARGUMENTS FOR SURVIVAL 493 

am mortal. And my mortality will surely not make it 
my duty to " sport with Amaryllis in the shade" if I 
find the society of Amaryllis and all her kindred an in- 
tolerable bore. . If I happen to prefer philosophy, or 
scientific research, or charity-organisation, to dinner- 
parties, race-meetings, and night-clubs, there seems to 
be no reason why I should not indulge these tastes as 
much as any immortal spirit. Professor Taylor admits 
that Horace's Odes do not make very cheerful reading ; 
surely this may be due, not simply to the fact that 
Horace believed himself to be mortal, but also to the 
fact that he acted unreasonably even for a mortal being 
whose sole aim is to maximise his own happiness. In a 
good many people the passion for scientific research, for 
artistic production, or for the construction of engineering 
works and the organisation of businesses, is extremely 
strong and largely disinterested. The Horatian scheme 
forgets these facts. If a man wishes to provide himself 
with sources of pleasure that will ensure a quiet but 
strong happiness over the greater part of his life, rather 
than a few spasms of enjoyment in the earlier part of it 
followed by years of boredom, he will be most unwise 
to adopt the '* fleeting-hour " plan even if he believes 
himself to be mortal. His wisest course will be, not 
indeed to neglect bodily pleasures in the earlier years of 
his life, but at any rate to indulge in them only to such 
an extent as will not interfere with the acquirement of 
sources of quieter but more permanent happiness which 
can be enjoyed when gout has forbidden port and a 
failing digestion has vetoed oysters. 

Thus, even if we die with our bodies, and if this 
implies that it is only reasonable to do what will give 
us pleasure, this will not necessarily make the right and 
reasonable line of conduct for most of us very different 
(though it will be somewhat different) from that of a 
convinced Christian. But of course the mere fact, if it \ 
be a fact, that we are mortal has no tendency to make it w 
right to consider only our own pleasure. Suppose that 



494 EVIDENCE FOR HUMAN SURVIVAL 

I and all other men are mortal, this will not alter the 
fact that, so long as they and I are alive, some states of 
mind, such as the appreciative hearing of good music, 
are better than others, such as enjoyment of another's 
pain. Nor will it alter the fact that it largely depends 
on our present actions whether I, my contemporaries, 
and a long series of successors shall experience the one 
kind of state or the other. Whether we are mortal or 
not it will still be our duty, I suppose, not to produce 
a worse state when we can produce a better ; not to treat 
our own pleasure, simply because it is ours^ as more 
important than the pleasure of others ; and not to show 
favouritism in the distribution of those materials for a 
good life which are at our disposal. Thus the duties of 
Justice, Rational Benevolence, and Prudence remain 
duties on either hypothesis. 

Professor Taylor says that he assumes that "the 
highest goods are roughly the discovery and knowledge 
of truth, the attainment and exercise of virtue, and the 
creation and fruition of beauty ". To these he later on 
adds the relation of love between persons. "All other 
goods," he says, "are secondary and insignificant as 
compared with these." I have no quarrel with these 
statements. The question is whether it would cease to 
be rational to strive for these goods if we believed that 
all human beings are mortal and that the race will 
eventually die out. So far as I can see, the only argu- 
ment which Professor Taylor uses to support this view 
is that, on this hypothesis, it will make no permanent 
difference whether we pursue these goods or not. Now 
I agree that this consequence follows from the assump- 
tion that the race will eventually die out. And I agree 
that it is practically certain that the race will die out 
unless some individual members of it are immortal. 
Finally, I agree (subject to certain qualifications which 
I will mention in a moment) that, if no goods that we 
can produce are permanent, the world is a poor thing. 
The qualifications which I have to make are these. 



ETHICAL ARGUMENTS FOR SURVIVAL 495 

(i) Although every species of intelligent beings may 
last only for a finite time, yet there might always be 
some species of intelligent beings existing. And the 
scientific discoveries and artistic treasures of the human 
race might be capable of being known and appreciated 
by the race of intelligent beings whose sun is rising 
while the sun of the human race is setting. On this 
hypothesis all values which consist in relations between 
human beings, or which are stored up in the characters 
of human beings, would indeed be lost ; but a good 
deal would be saved out of the wreck. The hypothesis 
which I am suggesting is analogous to what has 
happened many times in the history of the earth, when 
one race {e.g., the Greeks) has flowered and decayed, 
and eventually another race has found inspiration in 
their artistic, literary, and scientific productions. (2) 
Professor Taylor holds that, if all the values which the 
human race has created die with it and are not continued 
by some other race, the world is ve7y evil. This seems 
to me to be too harsh a judgment ; all that is justified 
is that the world is not veiy good. Suppose that there 
have not been and never will be any intelligent beings 
except men, and that the human race lasts for ten 
million years, reaching a maximum of virtue, happiness, 
and knowledge, at some intermediate date and then 
degenerating. On this hypothesis no part of the history 
of the world before the beginning of this period, and no 
part of its history after this period, has any intrinsic 
value. All intrinsic value, positive and negative, is 
crowded into this ten million years ; and this period is 
no doubt but a moment in the total life of the universe. 
We must remember, however, that if there is no intrinsic 
goodness outside these limits of time, there is also no 
intrinsic evil. Ethically, all but the ten million years 
may be wiped out ; and the moral character of the 
universe will stand or fall simply by the balance of 
good or evil within this ten million years. If there be 
a balance of good in that period, the universe may be 



496 EVIDENCE FOR HUMAN SURVIVAL 

called slightly good ; if there be a balance of evil, it 
may be called slightly bad. But, however great the 
balance one way or the other within this period, we 
cannot call the universe as a whole very good or very 
bad, because the period during which any moral 
predicate can be applied is such a vanishingly small 
part of the total history of the universe. 

After this explanatory digression I return to the 
main question. Supposing that there will come a time 
when all our scientific knowledge will be lost, when all 
our artistic productions will have ceased to exist or 
will have ceased to be contemplated and admired by 
any conscious being, and when all the values which are 
stored up in personal character and in human relation- 
ships will have vanished with the human beings who 
owned them, does it follow that it is irrational for us 
here and now to pursue those goods and to sacrifice 
other kinds of pleasure in order to attain them? I 
cannot see that it does. Let us begin by taking an 
analogy within a single three-score years and ten. It is 
certain that no doctor can prevent me from eventually 
dying. Does this render it irrational for me to go to a 
doctor if I have an illness in the prime of life, in the 
hope that he will cure me and enable me to live for many 
more years in comfort to myself and in useful activities 
and valuable personal relations to others? Surely it 
does not. Now, if it is rational to seek to be cured of 
an illness, though eventually some illness is certain to 
be fatal to me, why is it irrational for me to seek to 
enlarge scientific knowledge and to produce beautiful 
objects, though eventually a time will come when this 
knowledge will be lost and these objects will no longer 
be contemplated? The human race has probably a very 
long course before it, and I can certainly affect for better 
or worse the lives of countless generations of future 
men. I cannot see the least reason to think that, 
because the course of human history is not eftdless, it 
ceases to be my duty to do what I can to assure to these 



ETHICAL ARGUMENTS FOR SURVIVAL 497 

future generations decent social conditions, clear scientific 
knowledge which they can build upon and extend, and 
beautiful objects which they can admire and use as an 
inspiration for the production of yet more beautiful 
objects. That it will all come to an end eventually is a 
tragedy ; but this tragedy seems to make no difference 
to my duty here and now. If you like, it lowers the 
worth of every kind of activity ; but it does not, as far as 
I can see, alter the relative values of various alternative 
kinds of activity. 

No doubt, if one's duties are affected at all by matters 
of fact, one very important fact which will influence 
them is the particular place and time within the cosmic 
process in which one's lot happens to be cast. It would 
be irrational to start an elaborate scheme of social reform) 
or a three-volume novel, or a treatise on the theory of 
functions, if there were reason to expect that the world 
was coming to an end next week. At least it would be 
foolish on any other motive than the enjoyment of the 
activity itself. But it is not obviously foolish, if there 
be a prospect of a long series of human generations 
between oneself and the twilight of the earth, so to act 
that they may have fine works of art, profound scientific 
speculations, and the opportunity to live in a reasonably 
ordered community. Even if men were immortal and 
the human race destined to last for ever, it is certain that 
my scientific speculations will become obsolete and my 
artistic productions unintelligible. If they will be ap- 
preciated by myself and my contemporaries and will 
form a basis from which my successors will be able to 
build something better, it is rational for me to occupy 
myself in these activities. I am quite prepared to admit 
that, if the race is going to die out, the duties of a man 
who is born some millions of years hence may be very 
different from my duties, and very different from the 
duties which would be incumbent on him if he believed 
in immortality. If it were certain that the race had 
passed its prime, and that nothing now awaited it but 

2 I 



498 EVIDENCE FOR HUMAN SURVIVAL 

a hopeless struggle with an increasingly unfavourable 
environment, the main duty of a good man might be 
to preach and to practise contraception and infanticide. 
But I do deny that the question of mortality or immor- 
tality makes any appreciable difference to the duties of 
a man here and now ; and the fact that it will make 
a great difference to the duties of a man born some 
millions of years hence seems to me to be irrelevant. 
It seems to me, then, that the difference between the 
\ duties of a Christian and the duties of a man of the 
j present time who believes that he and his fellows are 
/ mortal are not nearly so great as has been represented. 
No doubt there are considerable differences ; but these 
depend on the fact that certain details of the Christian 
ethics are accepted by Christians on the authority of 
a supposed divine revelation. Differences of this kind 
are irrelevant to the present argument, for the following 
reasons, {a) It is needless to prove to Christians that 
they are immortal from the special features of their 
ethical system, for they already believe that they are 
immortal on the same authority on which they accept 
these special duties. On the other hand, in arguing 
wath non-Christians it is useless to take as the basis for 
your argument special duties which, since they are be- 
lieved to be duties only on the authority of the Christian 
revelation, will not be regarded by non-Christians as 
duties at all. {b) In any case differences of this kind 
will not be relevant to the argument for immortality. 
We must find some difference in our duties which 
depends simply and solely on the question whether we 
are or are not mortal, if we are to base an argument for 
immortality on our supposed knowledge of what it is our 
duty to do. What I have tried to do so far is to show 
that it is by no means clear that there are any duties 
which fulfil the two conditions of being regarded as 
binding by virtuous disbelievers in immortality, and of 
not really being binding unless we are immortal 

It would be enough, however, for Professor Taylor's 



ETHICAL ARGUMENTS FOR SURVIVAL 499 

purpose if a single act can be found which is admitted 
to be a duty by all competent judges, and would not 
be a duty if we were mortal. Now, although I do not 
know of any act which fulfils these conditions here and 
now, it would be rash to assert that there may not be 
at least one. Let us assume then, as a hypothesis, 
that a clear case of such a duty can be produced ; and 
let us then ask whether we should be justified in con- 
cluding that we are immortal. 

It is plain that the argument fulfils the necessary 
constitutive conditions. It would run as follows. " I 
know it is my duty to perform actions of a certain kind. 
I can show that it would not be my duty to perform 
such actions unless I were immortal. Therefore I can 
conclude that I am immortal." The question is whether 
the argument could fulfil the necessary epistemic con- 
ditions. If the argument is to be epistemically valid 
I must be able to know that so-and-so is my duty 
without having to know beforehand w^hether I am mortal 
or immortal. Now I am extremely doubtful whether 
the epistemic condition can be fulfilled. Either my 
duty depends on circumstances or it does not. If it 
does, how can I know what it is until I know the 
circumstances in which I am placed? And a very 
important circumstance will be whether I am mortal 
or immortal. Thus, if my duty does depend on circum- 
stances, it seems to me almost incredible that I can know 
what it is while I am ignorant of the relevant circum- 
stances. Now, by hypothesis, the question whether I 
am or am not mortal, is highly relevant in connexion 
with the duty on which the argument is based. If, 
then, my duty does depend upon circumstances, and 
the question of my mortality or immortality is highly 
relevant to the question whether so-and-so is my duty 
or not, I find it hard to believe that I could be certain 
that so-and-so is my duty at times when I am uncertain 
whether I am mortal or immortal. I fully admit that 
there is no logical impossibility here ; but I have the 



500 EVIDENCE FOR HUMAN SURVIVAL 

gravest doubts whether any actual instance could be 
produced. If, on the other hand, my duty be inde- 
pendent of circumstances, then there is of course no 
difficulty in supposing that I can know that so-and-so 
is my duty at times when I do not know whether I am 
or am not mortal. But then the other half of the 
argument will break down. If it be my duty to do 
so-and-so regardless of circumstances, it will be my duty 
to do it whether I be mortal or not ; and, therefore, the 
fact that it is my duty to do it will not enable me to 
decide between these two alternatives. 

I will now try to state as shortly as possible what I 
do and what I do not think that I have proved, (i) I 
have not proved that there is any logical incoherence 
in Professor Taylor's argument. It is theoretically 
possible, so far as I can see, that an instance might 
be produced fulfilling all the conditions which the 
argument requires. (2) I have tried to make these 
conditions explicit, and I will now sum them up. In 
trying to prove to a man M by this argument that he 
is immortal it is necessary to find some action which 
fulfils the following conditions, {a) M recognises it to 
be his duty, {b) It would not be M's duty unless M 
were in fact immortal, (c) M can know that it is his 
duty without having to know beforehand whether he 
is immortal or not, in spite of the fact that it can be his 
duty only if he is in fact immortal. (3) I have tried 
to show that it is uncertain whether any action can be 
suggested at the present time which fulfils conditions 
{a) and {b). And I have tried further to show that, 
even if an action could be produced that fulfils {a) and 
(<^), it is most unlikely that it would fulfil {c) also. 

The Argument that the World would be very evil tmless 
Men are immortal. This is plainly a different argument 
from that which we have just been considering. The 
first argument took as its premise that we have certain 
duties and that these would not be obligatory on us if 
we were mortal. The present argument is of the follow- 



ETHICAL ARGUMENTS FOR SURVIVAL 501 

ing form. '' If we and all men die with our bodies the 
world is very evil. The world is not so evil as this. 
Therefore some men, at any rate, are immortal." 
Professor Taylor does not directly discuss this argu- 
ment. But he has a good deal of importance to say 
about it. In the first place, he incidentally uses an 
argument, which seems to me to be invalid in the 
present connexion, to suggest that the world is not so 
evil as it seems. Secondly, he argues in considerable 
detail, not that it is false that the world is very evil, 
but that it is inconsistent for a scientist to hold that it is 
so. I will first consider the argument for myself, and 
will then consider Professor Taylor's remarks about it. 

I think that the argument under discussion could take 
two forms, one of which applies more directly to the 
individual than the other. The first form is this. 
" Men often die quite suddenly at the height of their 
powers, and other men die when their full powers are 
not developed. If such men do not survive the death 
of their bodies they are treated with gross injustice. 
If there were such injustice the universe would be very 
evil. Now the universe is not so evil as this. Hence such 
men do not really die with the death of their bodies." If 
such an argument were valid at all, it would not directly 
prove that all men survive the death of their bodies or 
that any man is immortal. Some men seem to be pro- 
vided in this life with ample opportunities to display 
the best that is in them, and to display nothing that is 
worth preserving. And it is not obvious that any man 
needs unending time to display all his powers to the 
utmost. If you answer that every man viay have 
valuable characteristics which need only favourable 
conditions to develop, and that we cannot be sure that 
any man could develop his full powers in a finite time, 
the answer is true but irrelevant. We can argue only 
from what we know to be true, not from what we do 
know to be false. 

I have already stated the other form of the argument. 



4 



502 EVIDENCE FOR HUMAN SURVIVAL 

I will begin by making some comments on the first 
premise and the conclusion. For reasons already- 
given the first premise needs to be stated in a more 
guarded form. We must not suppose merely that all 
human beings are mortal and that the race will eventu- 
ally die out. We must also suppose that there will 
not be other races of intelligent beings who will be able 
to take over, appreciate, and develop the science and 
art of the hurnan race, as one nation of human beings 
has often done with the science and art of another 
nation which has died out. If there always will be 
such -intelligent beings, though none of them are 
immortal, the world need not be very evil ; though I 
think it would be less good than it would be if some 
individuals, human or non - human, were immortal. 
Secondly, I am not prepared to say that the world 
would be very evil even on the more detailed hypothesis 
that there will be no other races of intelligent beings 
related to the human race in the way suggested. I am 
prepared to say only that the world would not be very 
good on this hypothesis. It is worth while to remark 
that the world might be very much worse on the 
hypothesis of immortality than on the hypothesis 
of mortality. If all human beings be immortal, and 
most human beings spend eternity in Hell, it seems 
to me that the world will be very evil ; much more 
evil than it would be on the hypothesis of universal 
mortality. In fact immortality is a necessary condition 
(on the present restricted hypothesis) for very great 
good or very great evil. But it is quite neutral between 
the two. So much for the first premise of the present 
argument. 

About the conclusion I have to make the same remark 
as I made about the conclusion of the first form of the 
argument. So far as I can see, the argument would 
not prove that every one is immortal ; it would prove 
only that some men must be so. It would be quite 
consistent with the view that no one who has existed 



ETHICAL ARGUMENTS FOR SURVIVAL 503 

up to the present date is immortal, or that only a 
small proportion of the men who are alive at any 
date are immortal. 

It now remains to consider the second premise, which 
is common to the two forms of this argument. Two 
conditions must be fulfilled if the argument is to be 
valid, (i) It must be true that the world is better than 
it would be if all human beings were mortal. And (ii) 
we must be able to know this without having to know 
beforehand whether all men are mortal or not. It is 
this second and epistemic condition which renders a 
perfectly true observation of Professor Taylor's com- 
pletely irrelevant to the present purpose. He supposes 
an objector to say that, on the face of it, there is a great 
deal of evil in the world ; and, since the world contains 
so much evil anyhow, we can feel no confidence that it 
may not be evil enough to be consistent with universal 
mortality. To this he answers that a great deal in the 
world which seems to be very evil would be trivial if 
we are immortal. This is no doubt true ; but it is 
surely quite irrelevant. If we knew independently 
that we were immortal this would be a perfectly good 
argument against the pessimist. But, when we are 
trying to prove that we are immortal, we must surely 
take the world at its face-value and not import con- 
siderations which depend on the hypothesis that we are 
immortal. Whether we are immortal or not it is 
certain that pain and cruelty exist, and it is certain that 
they are intrinsically evil. If we are immortal, they may 
have a great instrumental value which they will not 
have if we are mortal. But we have no right to assume 
either that they do or that they do not have this instru- 
mental value when we are trying to prove that we are 
immortal; the question of their possible instrumental 
value must here be dismissed as simply irrelevant. It 
is perhaps worth while to add that, if we are to play fast 
and loose with our data in this way at all, we may as 
well do it in one direction as in another. Whether we 



504 EVIDENCE FOR HUMAN SURVIVAL 

are immortal or not it is certain that love and pity- 
exist, and it is certain that they are intrinsically good. 
But intrinsically good states sometimes have bad con- 
sequences ; and, if we are immortal, they may have a 
great instrumental disvalue which they will not have if 
we are mortal. 

For my own part I believe the objection which 
Professor Taylor is here trying to answer is a perfectly 
valid one. There certainly is some evil, and I do not 
know of any general principle by which we could decide, 
e.g.^ that toothache is not too bad to be true whilst 
universal mortality is too bad to be true. Perhaps there 
may be some general principle which would enable us 
to draw a line somewhere, if only we knew it. But, so 
far as I can see, we are not acquainted with any such 
principle and have not the least idea where this line is 
to be drawn. 

The alleged Inconsistency between holding that the World 
is ' * rationaV and denying that it is ' ' righteous ". Professor 
Taylor imagines the case of a scientist who should argue 
as follows. " I see that it is my duty to act in such and 
such a way. I also know from my study of natural 
science that the efforts of the human race will all come 
to naught in the end, whether we do what is right or 
what is wrong. So much the worse for Nature. It is a 
fact that it has at a certain stage produced beings who 
can distinguish between right and wrong and be guided 
in their actions by this distinction. Such beings can 
judge the cosmic process and condemn it as indifferent 
to, and in the end destructive of, all that is valuable. It 
is a fact that, if men survived the death of their bodies, 
there would be at least a chance that their efforts and 
experiences might be of some permanent value. But 
we have no right to think that this provides any reason 
for holding that men will survive bodily death ; what 
ought to be and what is fall into two utterly different 
spheres, and we cannot argue from the former to the 
latter. Their sole connexion is that the world of what is 



ETHICAL ARGUMENTS FOR SURVIVAL 505 

has, under temporary and exceptional circumstances, 
tlirown up for a moment beings who can contemplate 
the world of what ought to be, and can criticise from its 
standards the material world which has made and will 
soon break its critics." 

Now I understand Professor Taylor's position to be 
that there is a positive inconsistency in a scientist who 
combines the view that the world is "rational", in the 
sense of being coherent enough to be a possible 
object of scientific knowledge, with the view that it is 
"irrational", in the sense of being indifferent or hostile 
to what we know to be ethically valuable. Now we 
must at the outset distinguish two very different cases. 
{a) That the two propositions : "The world is logically 
coherent" and: "The world is ethically incoherent" 
are mutually inconsistent. And [b] that / should be 
inconsistent if I believed both of them. The distinction 
may be illustrated as follows. There is no inconsistency 
between the two propositions : " Smith is in the dining- 
room " and : "Jones is not in the dining-room ". But, 
if my sole ground for any determinate belief about the 
position of either is that the housemaid has told me that 
both are in the dining-room, / shall be inconsistent if I 
assert that Smith is there and deny that Jones is there. 
I think it is certain that Professor Taylor claims to prove 
only the second kind of inconsistency. I will, however, 
deal with the first before I consider Professor Taylor's 
arguments for the second. 

[a) It seems to me quite plain that there is no in- 
consistency between the two statements that the world 
obeys the laws of logic and that it breaks the laws of 
ethics. There appears to be an inconsistency only 
because of a confusion between two senses of "law" 
and two senses of "breaking". Murders are committed 
from time to time ; and this, in a sense, conflicts with 
the moral law: "Thou shalt do no murder". But it 
conflicts simply in the sense that something happens 
which the law asserts to be wrong. It does not conflict 



5o6 EVIDENCE FOR HUMAN SURVIVAL 

with the law in the sense that it is inconsistent with its 
truth. If every one always and everywhere committed 
murders, this would not have the least bearing on the 
fact that murder is wrong, if it be a fact. At most it 
might make it harder for us to recognise this law. To 
say then that the world breaks the laws of ethics means 
only that it contains a great deal of evil ; and, since the 
laws of ethics make no assertion whatever about the 
amount of evil which may exist, there is not the slightest 
intellectual incoherence between this fact and the laws 
of ethics. There is therefore no difficulty whatever that 
I can see in believing both that these laws are true and 
that they are very often or even always broken. 

Let us now see what would be meant by saying that 
the world never breaks the laws of logic. This means 
that neither the world as a whole nor any part of it 
can be the subject of two true propositions of the kind 
which logic asserts to be inconsistent with each other. 
Is there any incoherence between this statement and 
the statement that the world or parts of it break the 
laws of ethics? There would be an incoherence if and 
only if a breach of the laws of ethics by anything im- 
plied that this thing was the subject of two logically 
inconsistent propositions both of which were true. But 
we have seen that a breach of the laws of ethics entails 
no such consequences. If I commit a murder I break a 
law of ethics, but I do not thereby become the subject 
of two true propositions which are logically inconsistent 
with each other. The two true propositions : "I commit 
a murder" and : " I do wrong to commit a murder" are 
perfectly consistent in logic with each other. 

{b) We may therefore pass to the second question. 
Granted that there is no inconsistency between the 
propositions: "The world is logically coherent" and 
" The world is ethically incoherent"; is it inconsistent 
of me to combine the two? I understand Professor 
Taylor's position to be that I have no positive ground 
for believing the world to be logically coherent which 



ETHICAL ARGUMENTS FOR SURVIVAL 507 

is not also a positive ground for believing it to be 
ethically coherent, and that it is therefore inconsistent 
in me to assert the former and doubt the latter. Let 
us now examine this contention a little more closely. 
When we say that a man has no ground for asserting 
/ which is not equally a ground for asserting q we 
may mean one of two things. (i) We may mean 
that he has no ground at all for either assertion. 
Or (ii) we may mean that he has a positive ground for 
asserting/, and that this is just as good a ground for 
asserting q. 

The former alternative would mean that the belief 
that the world is rational is an act of pure faith, and 
that the belief that the world is righteous is another act 
of pure faith. Supposing this to be true, all that follows 
is that A, who believes on no grounds that the world is 
intelligible, cannot cast stones at B, who believes on 
no grounds that the world is righteous. Equally, of 
course, B will not be able to cast stones at A. But, so 
far as I can see, though A and B could not refute each 
other, they also could not convince each other. Because 
I believe one proposition on faith, and another man 
believes another proposition on faith, it does not follow 
that I ought to add his belief to mine or that he ought 
to add my belief to his. Thus, on this alternative, the 
argument may produce mutual charity but it has no 
tendency to produce mutual conviction. 

The second alternative is that the two beliefs that the 
world is intelligible and that it is righteous have a 
common positive ground. If so, it will be inconsistent 
of me to assert one proposition on this ground and to 
deny the other. In order to deal with this case it will 
be necessary to state more clearly what is meant by the 
proposition that the world is "intelligible" or "in- 
tellectually coherent". I think that this involves two 
points ; (i) that the world obeys the laws of logic, and 
(ii) something more. The first is all that the pure 
mathematician requires ; the second is required in ad- 



5o8 EVIDENCE FOR HUMAN SURVIVAL 

dition to the first by the natural scientist. I will deal 
with these two points in turn. 

(i) It seems to me that my ground for believing that 
the world obeys the laws of logic can be stated, and that 
it is obviously quite different from my ground (if any) 
for believing that it obeys the laws of ethics. Why do 
):y^ I believe that the world obeys the laws of logic? Because 

I seem to be able to see quite clearly that no term of 
^ any kind could be the subject of two true and logically 

inconsistent propositions. It is true that this belief 
'' has no grounds ", in the sense that no reasons can be 
given for it which do not presuppose it. But it also 
needs no grounds in this sense ; for it is self-evident. 
It is merely an abuse of language to call it an " act of 
faith " in the sense in which my belief that my friend 
loves me in spite of his being sometimes cold and some- 
times peevish to me may be called an "act of faith". 
I have this self-evident knowledge of some of the more 
abstract principles of ethics as well as of the laws of 
logic. But I have no such knowledge of the proposition 
that the world conforms to the laws of ethics. So far 
from its being self-evident that the world conforms to 
the laws of ethics it is perfectly certain that some parts 
of it do not. At least it is as certain that the world 
does not wholly conform to the laws of ethics as it is 
that there is moral evil in it. It is no answer to this to 
say that we often meet with apparent contradictions, 
and that we always feel quite sure that they are on/y 
apparent and that fuller knowledge would show that the 
laws of logic have not been broken ; so why should not 
the same thing be true of apparent breaches of the laws 
of ethics? The two cases are quite different. We know 
beforehand that nothing real can break the laws of logic ; 
we do not know that nothing real can break the laws of 
ethics. Moreover, additional knowledge will not show 
that something which I took to be intrinsically evil is 
not intrinsically evil ; at the most it will only show that 
something which is intrinsically evil is a causal condi- 



ETHICAL ARGUMENTS FOR SURVIVAL 509 

tion of something else which is intrinsically good, or 
that it is a constituent of a whole which is intrinsically 
good in spite of the intrinsic badness of this part of it. 
There is thus no parallel at all between the two cases, 
so far as I can see. 

(ii) There is then not the slightest inconsistency in 
the position of a pure mathematician, e.g., who believes 
that all apparent contradictions in mathematics can be 
resolved and also believes that the world is very bad 
or not very good. But Professor Taylor was not really 
considering the case of a pure mathematician. He was 
considering the ordinary natural scientist ; and here 
his argument has much more plausibility. The intelli- 
gibility of the existent world does imply that it and 
every part of it obeys the laws of logic ; but it requires 
more than this. Nature might obey the laws of logic ; 
but, unless at least two further conditions were fulfilled, 
it would still be an unintelligible chaos to the scientific 
investigator. The first condition is that changes shall 
be subject to general laws, such as the laws of motion, 
gravitation, etc. This is in no way implied by the fact 
that nature obeys the laws of logic. But this is not 
enough. Nature might obey the laws of logic, and 
every change in the existent might be subject to general 
laws, and yet nature might be utterly unintelligible. 
The laws might be too numerous or too complex for us 
to unravel ; they might be such that it was practically 
impossible for us to isolate any one phenomenon from 
all the rest even to a first degree of approximation ; or 
again, our situation in nature might be so unfortunate 
that our sensations came to us in such an order that 
they failed to reveal the laws which really are present in 
nature. The scientist who assumes that nature is and 
will always remain intelligible must therefore assume 
that nature obeys other laws in addition to those of 
logic ; that these are of such a kind that we shall be 
able to disentangle them if we try patiently ; and that 
we are not fixed in such an exceptional corner of nature 



510 EVIDENCE FOR HUMAN SURVIVAL 

or so badly provided with sense-organs that all our 
efforts will be vain. These assumptions are not self- 
evident, like the laws of logic ; and they cannot be 
proved by any known process of reasoning from any 
known set of premises which are self-evident. Let us 
call them "postulates", as contrasted with the laws of 
logic, which are " axioms". 

Of these scientific postulates we may say (a) that they 
cannot be disproved, any more than they can be proved ; 
and (d) that it is practically more advantageous to act 
as if we believed them than to act as if we disbelieved 
them. There is no logical reason for believing them, 
but there is 2l practical motive for acting as if we believed 
them. The practical motive of course is that, if we act 
on these postulates, we shall go on investigating ; and 
that if, and only if, we go on investigating, we may dis- 
cover explanations of what is at present unintelligible. 
Now I suppose that the corresponding ethical postulate 
would be that our efforts to do what is right, to discover 
truth, and to create beautiful objects, have an effect 
which \s permanently valuable. I think it is true to say 
that this {a) cannot be disproved, and {b) that most 
men are more likely to exercise themselves in valuable 
activities if they act as if they believed it than if they 
act as if they disbelieved it. There is (apart from the 
special empirical arguments which I reserve for the 
next chapter) no logical reason to believe this ethical 
postulate, but there is 2. practical motive for acting as if 
we believed it. It is thus in precisely the same logical 
position and in precisely the same practical position as 
the scientific postulate. So much I think we may grant 
to Professor Taylor. 

What is the bearing of this admission on the question 
of human immortality ? It seems to me to have no 
direct bearing at all. It is desirable that men should 
act as if they believed that their efforts will have per- 
manently valuable results. If Professor Taylor be 
right, the proposition: "Human efforts will have per- 



ETHICAL ARGUMENTS FOR SURVIVAL 511 

manently valuable results " entails the pr(jp(xsiti(jn : 
*' Some human beings are immortal ". All that follows 
from this is that it is desirable that men should act as if 
they believed a certain proposition which entails the 
proposition that some men are immortal. It is plain 
that this does not give us any reason to assert that some 
men are immortal. It does not even justify us in saying 
that it is desirable to act as if we believed that some 
men are immortal. It may be desirable to act as if we 
believed/, and/ may in fact entail q ; but it might be 
highly desirable that men should ignore this implication. 
It is one thing to say that it is desirable to act as if we 
believed / ; and it is another thing to say that it is 
desirable to act as if we believed both **/" and "/ 
entails q ". And the second does not follow from the 
first, even \{ p does in fact entail q. 

All that Professor Taylor's argument justifies us in 
asserting is a certain proposition about practical politics. 
If people do not believe that their efforts will produce 
permanently valuable results, or if they do believe some- 
thing which is inconsistent with this, there is a danger 
that they will cease to act as if they believed that their 
efforts will produce permanently valuable results. And 
this will be very unfortunate. Now, if Professor Taylor 
be right, those who believe that all men are mortal are 
believing something which is inconsistent with the pro- 
position that their efforts will have permanently valuable 
results. And of course there is a danger that they may 
come to see this ; and may thus cease to believe that 
their efforts will have permanently valuable results, and 
finally cease to act as if they believed this. It follows 
from this that it would probably be wise for the State to 
adopt the immortality of the soul as a fundamental 
" myth ", and not to allow it to be publicly questioned. 
I wholly agree with Plato in thinking that human ^ 

society requires to be founded on certain "myths", 
which are not self-evident and cannot be proved ; and 
that the State is within its rights in forbidding all public 



512 EVIDENCE FOR HUMAN SURVIVAL 

discussion of the truth of these " myths". And I think 
it is quite possible that the doctrine of human im- 
mortality (whether it be in fact true or false) is one of 
these socially valuable "myths" which the State ought 
to remove from the arena of public discussion. This of 
course has no bearing whatever on the question whether 
the philosopher in his study ought to believe the doctrine 
of human immortality. He Ought only to believe what 
is either self-evident, or capable of certain or probable 
proof, or verifiable by sensible or introspective perception. 

I have suggested that the view that nature is "in- 
telligible", in the sense in which the natural scientist 
believes this, is in precisely the same logical and 
practical position as the view that our efforts can pro- 
duce results of permanent value. And I have suggested 
that it is arguable that the State ought to propagate and 
defend such "myths" as are needed to support the 
latter belief. Ought I in consistency to suggest that 
the State should propagate and defend the scientist's 
"myth" also? I do not think so. In the first place, 
no one of any influence attacks the scientist's "myth". 
Secondly, the practical success of the scientific postulate 
up to the present is much more obvious to the general 
public than the practical success of the ethical postulate. 
This of course is not really any logical ground for be- 
lieving the scientist's postulate. But it is commonly 
thought to be so. Hence most people believe that the 
scientist's postulate is continually strengthened by 
experience. So long as this logical fallacy is commonly 
accepted as a truth there is no danger that people will 
cease to believe the scientist's postulate, and therefore 
there is no danger that they will cease to act on it. 
Hence there is no need for the State to take any special 
precautions in favour of this particular " myth ". 

Conclusion. The upshot of the matter is that I feel no 
confidence that Professor Taylor has produced any 
ground whatever for believing in human immortality. 
It does not of course follow that there could not be a 



ETHICAL ARGUMENTS EOR SURVIVAL 513 

valid ethical argument to prove that some men at least 
are not mortal. But if, as I think, Professor Taylor 
has failed to produce one, I should be very much 
surprised if anyone else were more successful. And, 
until someone does it to my satisfaction,